BMC wants evidence to register complaints about illegal buildings
Nov 28, 2013
Source : The Times of India


MUMBAI: If you want to complain to the BMC about illegal constructions, you’ll now have to submit evidence too.

The civic body has come up with a new set of guidelines on filing complaints about unauthorized structures that makes it mandatory for the complainant to provide proof.

The new circular states that in the wake of a Bombay high court directive, the BMC has come up with a formatted form which needs to be filled by anyone wanting to complain about illegal buildings.

Apart from giving details such as name, home and office address, Aadhar card number or photo ID proof and stating the reason for the complaint, the complainant has to give evidence and also provide documents that prove the authenticity of the complaint. If documents are not provided, the complaint will not be entertained, the circular states.

Civic officials said the idea is to keep out bogus complaints.

The guidelines, set down in a circular, come just days after TOI reported about state information commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad’s order saying copies of building plans approved by the BMC would no longer be available under the Right to Information Act. The order was reversed after TOI wrote about it.

“There are several professional complainants who extort money from the other party. Evidence need not be in the form of maps or plans. Mere photographs of the work being carried out are also accepted,” a senior civic official said.

The official said he had seen cases of people living in Raigad district complaining about illegal extensions in a building in Byculla, without any evidence.

Activists, however, said the BMC cannot put the onus on the complainant. They said it was the civic body’s job to find evidence.

“If BMC says there is a problem of bogus complaints, they should find a solution to it. In fact, it is the BMC’s job to carry out an inspection in order to verify a complaint, without going into the complainant’s intention, and to take action,” said activist Aftab Siddiqui of the H-West Ward Federation.

The circular states that in case the designated officer in-charge of monitoring illegal constructions at the ward level fails to act on a complaint in 30 working days, the matter will be taken up by a zonal grievance redressal committee.

However, a complainant will have to fill out another form for this committee and give identity proof.

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