Illegal structures responsible for two deaths razed in Pune

The district authorities carried out a massive demolition drive razing 20 illegal structures along the Pune-Banglore Highway.

Pune: In the wake of a huge public cry, the district authorities here carried out a massive demolition drive razing 20 illegal structures along the Pune-Banglore Highway, which had caused flooding and led to death of two persons.

These unauthorised buildings on the Katraj hills had caused heavy flooding after rains, leading to the death of a woman and her child early last month.

The day-long demolition, which cleared illegal structures spread over around 8,000 sq ft, was carried out under heavy police deployment on Thursday.

The drive came after a local court vacated the stay earlier obtained by the builder brothers who have been arrested and booked under Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act (MRTP) for carrying out unauthorised constructions not conforming to the city`s development plan.

Wide protests were witnessed by citizen forums as well as political parties who admonished the district authorities for their alleged protection to the culprits.

The public outcry prompted Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to institute an inquiry into the June 6 mishap in which a 30-year-old woman and her daughter from the city were washed away near the Katraj tunnel as their car got submerged in the swirling waters without an outlet.

After the incident the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) officials had claimed the local administration had been sounded about the constructions dangerously close to the highway, which could compromise the road safety.

A district official said the demolition was carried out as soon as the administration got court order vacating the stay obtained by the builder brothers, who have been also fined for Rs 69 lakh.

A survey, conducted by the administration after the tragedy, concluded that the encroachments on the hills at the entrance of the city, had caused the accident, which resulted from obstruction of drains leading to submerging of the highway stretch.

Meanwhile, Chavan, who was in the city yesterday, said the State Government will initiate action against the erring officials who turned a blind eye to the illegal structures when they were being raised and the guilty responsible for the tragedy will not be spared.


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