Viju B, TNN, Jan 20, 2011, 01.43am IST
MUMBAI: While the municipal body regularly demolishes illegal slums and other smaller structures, similar action against illegal high-rises is taken less promptly. Activists said the authorities should not implement two sets of rules for illegal constructions.
The civic authority has demolished thousands of illegal slums that have come up on encroached land and in coastal areas. Meanwhile, activists said, illegal floors are often regularized in high-rises and commencement and occupation certificates are granted to multi-storey towers that come up in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone rules.
“Over 2009 and 2010, around 15,000 hutments were demolished in both Mumbai and Navi Mumbai,” said Simpreet Singh, of the National Alliance of the Peoples Movement (NAPM), who filed several RTI queries on the issue. “The local authorities conduct regular demolition drives to remove illegal hutments, but they had not sent even a demolition notice to high-rises like Adarsh, which come up without getting environmental clearance,” said Singh. NAPM had first registered a complaint against the controversial Adarsh society with the state environment department.
“If the authorities can demolish illegal slums that come up along the coast, then the same laws should be used to act against buildings like Adarsh. After all, just like people in high-rises, slumdwellers also put their life-savings into constructing hutments,” Singh said.
BMC officials pointed out that it is more difficult to conduct demolitions in high-rises, because more sophisticated red tape, knowhow and technology are involved. A senior BMC official said, “The slums come up without any permissions, but Adarsh had an OC.”