New Delhi: Large-scale encroachment of public land, especially by religious structures, has drawn the ire of the Public Accounts Committee which wants government to not only recover the land but also punish officers who turned a blind eye to unauthorised constructions.
In its latest report on the functioning of the Land and Development Office (L&DO) which falls under the Urban Development (UD) Ministry, the PAC led by Chairman Murli Manohar Joshi has noted that unauthorised religious structures existed on prime land across the capital.
"The Committee find that there are 15 unauthorised religious structures existing in different parts of Delhi on the land under the control of L&DO," the PAC said in its report.
The report added that 91 more religious structures stood on government land under New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC).
More than a hundred temples, mosques and churches in posh areas like Khan Market, Lodhi Road, Connaught Place, India Gate, Chanakyapuri, Bengali Market and Barakhamba Lane are listed as encroachers in L&DO records, which were provided to the Committee.
The PAC observed that often land under the control of L&DO was managed by agencies like CPWD, DDA, MCD and NDMC and all the Urban Development Ministry did was to issue guidelines asking them to remove encroachments.
"The Committee believe that mere issuance of guidelines will not deter the encroachers who seem to take the weak inspection system for granted," the PAC said.
The Parliamentary Committee was also strictly against letting the officials who allowed encroachment go scot free.
"Responsibility (should) also be fixed against officers who turn a blind eye to such unauthorised constructions being dereliction of duty," the panel said in its report.