Court raps civic bodies for failing to remove squatters
Mumbai: The failure of the authorities to take action against illegal hawkers and unauthorised construction earned the wrath of the Bombay high court. The court’s admonition came in three separate cases being heard by different benches of the high court on Thursday.
One concerned illegal hawkers on Linking Road in Bandra before a division bench of Justice F I Rebello and Justice R V More. The other two related to largescale illegal constructions and hawking menace in Thane, being heard by a bench of acting chief justice J N Patel and Justice S C Dharmadhikari.
“It is high time that the corporation takes steps to remove encroachments and unauthorised constructions,’’ said Justice Patel. By the government’s own admission, there are over 4.95 lakh unauthorised structures in Thane district. The authorities have been able to remove just 11,000 such structures. “How many officers have been punished with dismissal for allowing encroachments to come up on public land,’’ asked the judge.
The state’s claims that it had initiated departmental inquiry against officers did not impress the court. The HC has asked chief secretary J P Dange to set a time frame for removing all unauthorised structures in Thane. The court also asked Thane municipal commissioner to file an action-taken report on the problem of illegal hawking.
The bench headed by justice Rebello rapped the authorities for failing to make available pavements for the public while proposing to build sky walks.
Shibu Thomas -TNN