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Posted at: Oct 12, 2018, 12:08 AM; last updated: Oct 12, 2018, 12:08 AM (IST)ENCROACHMENTS

Civic body faces contempt charges

Civic body faces contempt charges
Roadside encroachments in Ward Number 36 of Ludhiana. A file photo

Kuldip Bhatia
Ludhiana, October 11

The lackadaisical attitude of the Municipal Corporation towards removal of encroachments even after explicit directions of the court, has once again landed the civic body in the soup. Taking up a contempt petition (COCP 3245 of 2018), the Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued a show-cause notice to the MC for not acting against violations of the provisions made in the PUDA Act which forbids construction within five metres of the major roads passing through the city.

Issuing the notice to the MC in his orders announced on October 9, 2018, Justice Augustine George Masih relied on the contention made by petitioner Rohit Sabharwal that orders issued by the HC in CWP 4559 of 2007 with regard to removal of encroachments/illegal construction within five metres of state and national highways, were not carried out by the MC.

In the orders, the Judge said: “Let notice be issued to the respondent for March 9, 2019, to show-cause as to why proceedings for contempt be not initiated against them for non-compliance of the orders passed by this court. Reply/compliance report to the contempt petition be filed within a period of 10 weeks from the date of receipt of notice with an advance copy to the counsel for petitioner.”

Information provided by the MC to Sabharwal under the RTI, indicated that within the city limits, there were 1,764 illegal constructions/encroachments along the roadside and the MC had taken action (demolition) only against nine of them, till now.

According to information on violations of the PUDA Act within the city, there were 851 illegal constructions/violation in Zone A, 65 in Zone B, 549 in Zone C and another 299 in Zone D of the city. Of these, the MC have demolished six illegal buildings in Zone B and three in Zone C till now.

In the contempt petition filed by Sabharwal, he had held the MC responsible for wilfully disobeying the HC directions of July 9, 2013 where the court had directed the respondents (the urban local bodies) to initiate action for removing illegal and unauthorised roadside constructions in accordance with the law in concern to area that falls under the jurisdiction of MC.

The case would come up for hearing on March 9, 2019.

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