BENGALURU: Even as the state government has backed the demolition drive on storm water drains, following Bengaluru‘s inundation during the recent rain, it has failed to take cognizance of court orders, which asked governments to set up “welfare funds” for innocent and naive buyers. The government, in fact, has not come across these judgments.
In 2004, the Odisha high court in the Friends Colony Development Committee case had observed: “…the state governments should think of levying heavy penalties on builders and develop a welfare fund which can be utilised for compensating and rehabilitating innocent or unwary buyers who are displaced on account of demolition of illegal constructions.” The same observation was viewed “in correctness” and quoted by the Supreme Court in 2013 while ruling on demolition drives and encroachments in Esha Ekta Apartments versus Mumbai corporation.
The Karnataka government has not yet considered the possibility of setting up a welfare fund by levying heavy fines on builders who have illegally constructed and sold properties to ordinary residents.
Urban development department (UDD) additional chief secretary Mahendra Jain told mediaI: “It is a very good idea and will help in giving reprieve to innocent buyers of apartments and sites, but so far this order has not come to our notice.”
BBMP commissioner N Manjunath Prasad, who was also unaware of the judgment, said the Palike would consider this to avoid confrontations with innocent buyers who have lost their savings and homes. “Since the apex court has ruled in this matter, we will certainly explore the possibilities of setting up such a welfare fund,” he said.
In the same judgment and in other cases, the Supreme court has observed that state governments must book officials who signed the building plans and were involved in allowing such illegal construction.
It has also said a committee must be constituted to ensure that developers do not manipulate officials. “The officials who have connived on unauthorised or illegal constructions should not be spared. In developing cities, the strength of staff, which is supposed to keep a watch on building activities, should be suitably increased in the interest of constant and vigilant watch on illegal or unauthorised constructions,” the court said.
Credits ET Realty