NEW DELHI: The three municipal corporations have claimed helplessness in the face of widespread unauthorized construction in the city. In its report to the Delhi high court, South Corporation has recommended a sharp increase in the penalty amount and discontinuation of electricity and water supply to the building, among other proposals.
Officials blamed the Delhi government's soft regularization policy and an acute shortage of staff for the unbridled construction activities. Routine sealing and demolition drives against illegal structures have failed to be a deterrent, calling for stringent laws to curb the menace, they added. In the last three days, South Corporation had taken action against 135 illegal structures. The other two corporations are likewise acting against unauthorized construction.
In its 11-page report to HC, the corporation has analysed the problem of unauthorized construction. "At present, a person has to pay a fine of Rs 5000 for unauthorized construction. Most people pay the amount and get away with it. Also, in several cases, people don't take the completion certificate. There is a need to increase the penalty," said Manish Gupta, commissioner, South Corporation.
The civic agency has also suggested disconnection of electricity and water supply to buildings which are booked. "Even after booking for unauthorized construction, it takes a lot of time to take action for a number of reasons. We have suggested that whenever demolition orders are passed, DJB and discoms should be asked to discontinue water and electricity supply within seven days,'' said an official.
The civic agencies are also hamstrung by the lack of staff. South Corporation has just 159 junior engineers as against 323 sanctioned posts. "Each junior engineer is looking after four to six municipal wards, making it difficult to keep close tabs on illegal construction," said Gupta. The civic agency suggested that Delhi Police's role in checking unauthorized construction should be well defined. "Unauthorized construction should be made a cognizable offence on the basis of complaints filed by field officer,'' said an official.
The civic agency also proposed simplification of existing policies on subdivision and amalgamation of plots, lal dora and urbanized villages as well as construction on agricultural land. Officials said the maximum complaints of unauthorized constructions are reported from these areas. The recommendations have been sent to the Delhi government for approval before they are submitted to the high court.