HYDERABAD: Six months after the Hyderabad High Court ordered the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) to set up a town planning tribunal to deal with cases pertaining to illegal constructions, authorities haven’t moved an inch.
Section 46 (4) of the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (HMC) Act mandates the civic body to prosecute those involved in illegal constructions and register criminal cases against errant builders. Thanks to the authority’s inaction, many of them are going scot-free.
Just last week, an illegal under-construction building collapsed in Nanakramguda, claiming the lives of 11 labourers at the site. “There are a few thousand cases stuck in the courts; building owners approach the courts after notices were sent to them,“ said a senior town planning official, requesting anonymity . “There are also a few cases pending with the Lok Ayukta.“
But civil society alleged that the GHMC is going soft on builders. “Had there been a tribunal, the cases would have been dealt in a speedier manner,“ said M Padmanabha Reddy, secretary, Forum for Good Governance. “But in this case, justice delayed is justice denied.“ Similarly, RTI activist S Chandrashekar said that there are over 200 such structures which are embroiled in legal tangles, a fact the GHMC does not deny.
Officials defend themselves saying that builders and owners use loopholes within the Municipal Act to shield themselves from punitive action. “Not just that, they are also approaching courts to obtain injunctions on their structures,“ said a GHMC official.
As per the rulebook, the tribunal must comprise a legal expert (at the level of a High Court judge), who would be assisted by a group of town planning experts, including structural engineers and planners.
Credits ET Realty