Ludhiana, February 6
Even as the state government has nearly finalised the one-time settlement (OTS) policy for compounding all illegal buildings in the state which is yet to be notified, the construction of commercial buildings, in violation of building bylaws and with illegal change of land use, continues in the city in top gear while the staff of the building branch of the Municipal Corporation seems to be watching the ‘dubious activity’ as a mute spectator.
In a complaint lodged with the Principal Secretary/Additional Chief Secretary of Local Government Department, Punjab, the Director of Local Bodies, Punjab, and the Chief Vigilance Officer of the Local Government, Punjab, secretary of Council of RTI Activists Arvind Sharma has alleged that with their eyes on the forthcoming OTS, the officials of building branch, especially those deployed in Zone D, were openly striking deals with builders and illegal buildings were coming up right under their noses.
Providing photographs of several illegal commercial buildings under construction at Bhai Randhir Singh Nagar (Block E and G), Sarabha Nagar (opposite Kipps Market), Pakhowal Road, Model Town (near Gurdwara) and Model Town Extension, Sharma alleged that the nexus of building officials and builders was causing huge loss to the civic body (by way of change of land use without any payment and evasion of fee for approval of building plans) besides being party to haphazard development and building activity in the city.
The complaint further said even though buildings that were constructed till a certain date (cut-off date) would be compounded under the proposed OTS, still underhand efforts were being made by some well-connected builders to obtain back-dated challans for their illegal buildings to get advantage from the OTS as and when it is notified.
The MTP (Zone C and D), SS Bindra, said in most cases of illegal commercial buildings, challans had been issued and in some specific cases, demolition orders had also been issued. “Strict instructions have been issued to the field staff and supervisory officials to take all possible measures to curb construction of illegal buildings in the city,” he added.
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