Patiala, March 23
Regular illegal construction of buildings has affected the city’s layout. The haphazard development has become a major cause of traffic congestion and lack of proper parking and also poses a threat to the life and property in case of a disaster, such as an earthquake.
Residents said the municipal inspectors had failed to take action against building violations and the faulty constructions across the city. Residents said frequent illegal constructions could be seen in areas like Bhupindra Road, near the city bus stand, adjacent to the Ghalori gate and in Tripuri area.
Local Govt Dept came out with new bylaws in 2018
- In 2018, the Local Government Department had released a new set of bylaws and stated that action could be initiated against town planners, architects, engineers and other officials in case of violations
- It said the assistant town planners and municipal town planners were supposed to authenticate and provide proper demarcation of construction areas and also to personally monitor the constructions every week
In 2018, the Local Government Department had released a new set of bylaws and stated that action could be initiated against town planners, architects, engineers and other officials in case of violations. It said the assistant town planners and municipal town planners were supposed to authenticate and provide proper demarcation of construction areas and also to personally monitor the constructions every week.
A Bhadson Road resident, Bobby, said, “The city has witnessed a rampant conversion of residential spaces to commercial ones in the past few years. In 2018, a hotel was constructed adjacent to the city bus stand in full public view. The corporation decided to act against it only after reports about the illegal construction were published in newspapers. The matter then lingered on in a court.”
In 2019, the corporation had sealed a number of under-construction buildings only upon their completion. In fact, the construction work of two of these buildings continued even after the sealing drive.
An MC insider alleged, “MC officials initiate action against illegal constructions only upon the receipt of complaints. They later allow the construction after receiving benefits under-the-table. A nexus has always existed where councillors act as a bridge between the employees and building owners.”
In 2021, nearly half a dozen workers were buried under the rubble after a building being constructed without a sanctioned plan collapsed and plummeted to the ground. “No action was initiated against any official,” a resident said. The same year, on June 15, the corporation after having failed to deter the violations, declared plots behind a private hospital on the Bhupindra road as commercial units. The changes were made after councillors said over half the plots on the road had already been converted to commercial units.
An employee of the fire wing of the department said, “Several illegal commercial buildings in the city have been occupied without fire safety installations and certificates. The violations, including lack of proper fire exit, fire hydrants and other facilities, inadvertently become a threat to the life and property in case of a fire. In case of an earthquake as well, the buildings with faulty constructions become the biggest threat to the life and property.”
Residents said wrongful constructions and illegal occupation of underground parking spaces for commercial purposes have led to major traffic congestions across the city. “The administration keeps trying to find alternatives,” a resident said.
The state Vigilance Bureau is probing various cases of illegal constructions. Recently, the civic body had chargesheeted two municipal inspectors over their alleged failure to act against illegal constructions and building violations in the city. “Despite bylaws, sealing and demolition drives, Vigilance probes and chargesheets against a few officials, the city has failed to get a respite from faulty constructions.”
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