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Civic body, Tatas in illegal buildings row

It’s no secret that residential apartments and commercial complexes are coming up in Jamshedpur in blatant violation of original building plans. What’s more surprising is that instead of joining hands to check the illegal practice, the two key organisations that are accountable are passing the buck to each other.

A silent war has broken out between Tata Steel’s land department, which provides plots on sub-lease to individuals and companies, and Jamshedpur Notified Area Committee (JNAC), which sanctions building maps, over illegal constructions in the steel city.

Aggrieved that the civic body has failed to ensure that all builders are sticking to original plans, Tata Steel’s land department has now also started keeping the East Singhbhum deputy commissioner posted about any unauthorised construction.

In the past four months, Tata officials apprised the deputy commissioner’s office of 25 such violations while complaining about the same to JNAC.

“Earlier, whenever there was a violation in construction of residential flats or market complex, we used to draw the attention of JNAC so that necessary steps could be taken against the builder. But, when we realised that the civic body pays lip service to our complaints and takes no concrete step to stop unauthorised constructions, we decided to also inform the deputy commissioner’s office. Unfortunately, the deputy commissioner’s office too has failed to do much,” an official in Tata Steel’s land department told The Telegraph.

For instance, he elaborated, a builder gets a plan for G+2 (ground plus two) approved and begins construction. When construction is over till the second floor, the person concerned applies for power and water connections from utility service provider Jusco.

“As the building is in accordance with the original plan approved by JNAC, the builder has no problem in getting the twin connections from Jusco. The violations begin after that and the builder adds more floors. JNAC keeps mum despite being informed,” the official added.

This way, the realtors have constructed highrises on plots that were meant to house much smaller buildings.

Additional deputy collector, Jamshedpur, Ganesh Kumar, who looks after constructions in the steel city and land disputes, admitted that Tata Steel had begun informing about the violations being done by builders. However, he blamed both Tata Steel and JNAC for the mess.

“Tata Steel’s land department informs us whenever there is any deviation from the original building plan, but has the company ever lodged an FIR against the violator? Mere informing the deputy commissioner’s office is not enough,” Kumar said.

He did not spare JNAC either.

“It is the JNAC that has to keep a tab on under-construction buildings. The civic body has the power to pull down any portion that has come up in deviation of the approved plan, but it is doing nothing,” the additional deputy collector said.

The administration, he stressed, was ready to provide logistic support if JNAC decides to demolish a building or a part of it.

Special officer of JNAC R.N. Dwivedi cited manpower crunch and other works like census duty, voter list verification and the usual civic responsibilities for their poor response.

“We have not been able to take concrete action as we are busy. Still, we have served notices to over 40 building owners and action will be initiated soon,” he said.

Nearly 99 per cent buildings in JNAC command areas, including Bistupur, Sakchi, Sonari, Golmuri and Sitaramdera, have come up in deviation of approved plans. At some places, the builders have even encroached on public land and roads.