SURAT: Over the past decades despite repeated warnings by municipal commissioners, illegal constructions in the city have not reduced. On the contrary they have increased manifold. It has become common for a developer or builder to take permission for three floors and build fourth and fifth floor illegally. The major reason being no action by competent authorities. Officials of Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) go for demolition and come back after making a few dents in the structures.
New SMC commissioner M Thennarasan now plans to change this. To make the razing of illegal structures transparent Thennarasan has decided to adopt a demolition up to ground zero policy. This means, if a portion of structure is illegal, whole structure would be demolished. He plans to form a special task force for the purpose of removing the illegal structures in the city. “We plan to make the process more transparent. An officer on job would carry out the demolition and post pictures of work done from there which will be uploaded on official SMC portal. The task force for the job will consist of security persons and officials of the respective zones,” said Thennarasan.
According to an estimate, there are more than 50,000 illegal constructions in Surat city at present. Majority of them have come up in last five to seven years. Maximum illegal structures are in central zone, Udhna and Limbayat followed by Varachha and Katargam. In Surat, out of about these illegal structures, more than half have portions that are illegal and about 8-10 per cent are completely illegal. Many of them have applied under impact fee regulation to regularize their structure but don’t fall within the criteria of the regulation.
“When officials go for demolition of illegal structures they look the other way and instead of razing the entire illegal portion they just hammer a few places and return to show that the demolition is carried out,” alleged Harsukh Pandya, a citizen from Mahidharpura. An SMC official, on condition of anonymity, said, “It happens. We can’t deny the fact. But, officials work under tremendous pressure. To stop demolition of illegal structures, SMC officials are pressurised. Our superiors receive phone calls from politicians. Even from offices of ministers and other big shots.”
Credits ET Realty