Monday, October 14, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Gurgaon MC may be axed
Ravi S. Singh
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, October 13
The Haryana Government is contemplating the dissolution of the local municipal council for its failure to prevent unauthorised constructions. The move is understood to have the nod of Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala.

The provocation for the move is the alleged nexus of some functionaries of the elected body, land mafia and a section of the officialdom resulting in a large number of illegal constructions in the form of multistoreyed commercial plazas/shopping complexes, etc., causing huge loss to the government exchequer. Needless to say that the city sold as a dream destination for the investors, both for business and residential purposes, is virtually an eyesore for visitors here.

The government has ordered a probe into the functioning of the municipality. An officer of the rank of Additional Director of Urban Development Department, Haryana, Mr M.L. Kaushik, has been assigned the task and would submit his report within 10 days.

In a related development, the Commissioner, Secretary, Urban Development, Haryana, Mr Manik Sona Wane has ordered the demolitions of the illegal commercial plazas/shopping complexes. Following the order on Friday the government constituted a task force headed by an officer of the rank of Senior Town Planner, Headquarters, to accomplish the job. The task force members from Chandigarh have already arrived here and the operational strategy is being worked out to execute the demolitions. The members today were locked in a marathon meeting to fine-tune their strategy. The operation is likely to begin any moment.

The government has identified 89 buildings constructed during the time of the preceding HVP-BJP government and about three which came up during the time of this government in this regard. Those who violated the laws include senior leaders of the INLD, including a former Cabinet Minister, Mr Jagdish Yadav, and Mr Madan Lal Gujjar. The plazas and shopping complex which are certain to face the axe are the Satyam Plaza and Vianyak Plaza on the Jharsa road and AKD Towers.

The modus operandi of the violators was that they used to get approved a single unit residential building plan from the municipal council. However, they used to start construction of plazas and shopping centres in the no-commercial zones. In the midst of the constructions, the owners would submit revised building plans for approval.With collusion with insiders in the elected body they used to get the plan approved after paying some fees. The violations were compounded through resolutions passed by the elected members in the full House of the MC. Significantly, the authorities concerned, including the district administration, used to look the other way when the complexes were in the primary stages of construction.

The rub is that the municipality used to pass resolutions for compounding the violations even though these could not be compounded according to law. What has happened is that the land mafia has constructed huge complexes at prime places by shelling out only peanuts in terms of monetary costs.

The 89 buildings, which have been identified (other than those which came up during the period of this government), came up after 1996. When the INLD came to power it got the matter investigated by an officer of the rank of DIG, CID, Haryana. After the matter was reported the issue was discussed by the Haryana Cabinet, which gave the approval for a detailed inquiry by the Urban Development Department. The departmental inquiry identified the 89 buildings and sent a message, understandably at the instructions of the Chief Minister to the then Deputy Commissioner. The order was for the demolitions of the identified buildings. But the said officer did not take action for a long time. Rather, he ratified the “illegal” resolutions of the municipal council for regularisation and for charging compounding fees. As a result of which some of the violators paid the fees and some also moved the court obtaining status quo order against any possible demolitions.

After the transfer of the then Deputy Commissioner, his successor, Mr Anil Rastogi, annulled his order and the resolutions of the municipality. According to the rule, the Deputy Commissioner has to ratify the resolutions of the municipal councils concerned for them to have a legal effect.

A top officer of the Haryana government said the task force, which has reached Gurgaon, would first demolish those buildings against which no stay order for status quo has been obtained from the court.


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