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Civic body axe on illegal flats

- High-rises face demolition drive

Patna Municipal Corporation on Monday started demolition of one floor of the Lila Janki Villa apartment at Raiji Ki Gali in the Boring Canal Road area.

The floor has allegedly been constructed in violation of the building rules.

The builder of the apartment had moved to the tribunal court of the PMC against the decision of the civic body’s vigilance cell to demolish part of the building. The tribunal too upheld the decision of the vigilance cell and issued the order on Friday evening following which demolition was started on Monday.

Sources said the PMC woke up to get the building measurement of various apartments to find if there is any illegal construction work involved only after Patna High Court’s order. The high court, while hearing a writ petition on May 8, ordered that till further orders multi-storeyed buildings cannot be constructed more than a height of 11m or more unless the entire stretch of the road in front of it is 20ft wide.

The high court, while passing the order, observed twice: “We are satisfied at some point of time that a beginning has to be made for the enforcement of the municipal laws.”

PMC commissioner Kuldip Narayan, in a meeting held on May 22, ordered a survey of all buildings in the city “those which are complete and those still under construction” for which the building plans and maps have been approved by the registered architects over the past couple of years. The civic body is not approving any new building plans for over two months now.

The survey has started revealing startling facts and figures. “Around 1,000 under-construction buildings in the city have violated building by-laws. According to certain provisions of the building by-laws, if the violations are within permissible limits, it can be condoned. However, the rest of the buildings may face demolition. The high court order had stated that all its orders should be implemented with the support of the officer in-charge of the police station concerned. On Monday also, the demolition drive was carried out in the presence of around six cops,” said a PMC official who did not wish to be named.

About the demolition drive that was carried out on Monday, Narayan told The Telegraph that the corporation only followed the high court order by carrying out the demolition drive. “The PMC is carrying out demolition drive in the wake of Patna High Court’s order only,” he said.

Narayan, however, could not disclose figures that how many illegal constructions have been identified by the PMC where demolition drive has to be carried out. “At present, we are unable to say that at how many places similar kind of demolition drive would be carried out. All this would be done following a process. If we would find any violation of the map approved by the PMC, the matter would be sent to the PMC vigilance cell and whatever judgment would come from the vigilance side — whether it would ask us to slap fine or carry out demolition drive at the concerned place, we would follow the directive,” he added.

Sources said the civic body did not have any monitoring on the construction activities all these years. Only after the court order, it has tightened the noose on the illegal constructions.

“According to the Bihar Municipal Act 2007, all registered architects are required to periodically inspect the construction of buildings approved by them. Most of the architects have not submitted periodical inspection reports. Section 7 of the Apartment Ownership Act, 2006, also mandates that registered architects should approve the maps of only those buildings, which are being constructed by builders registered with the competent authority. The PMC should have asked architects to give details of the building plans earlier only,” said an official, who did not wish to be named.


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