HC suggests spl cells to receive encroachment complaints

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday said that special cells -- on the lines of police control rooms -- could be set up to receive complaints regarding encroachments and unauthorised constructions.

Hearing a PIL on illegal constructions in the neighbouring Thane district, division bench of acting Chief Justice J N Patel and Justice B R Gawai said, "Government should have a control room or cell where any citizen can lodge complaint about unauthorised construction in his area."

Taking a strong view, court said: "Root of the problem (of unauthorised constructions) is your officers failed to do their duty. You have to have special disciplinary agency."

"Have you ever dismissed any municipal commissioner or CEO of municipal council for encroachments?" court asked.

The court also sought details of action taken against "slumlords" under the provisions of Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities Act, as a part of anti-encroachment efforts, by April 7.

"We fail to understand why government fails to identify those who are involved in unauthorised construction," the judges said.

The judges lamented that in the past two years, authorities in Thane had done little except completing surveys of illegal construction.