By Pratik Mantri:
In the last decade or so, our economy has grown by leaps and bounds; many sectors have flourished and have witnessed an unprecedented growth. One of the remarkable growth stories has been of the real estate and its astronomical appreciation across various Indian cities, be it Tier I, Tier II or even Towns. While it can be safely said that the ever growing population has put an enormous demand for larger homes, offices, shopping malls etc., the fact of the matter still remains that this situation has paved the way for builders to cash in with illegal constructions. Many builders resort to unfair means to get their deals done which includes bribing government officers, coercing people to sign the documents, misrepresentation of facts relating to properties etc.
The bigger cities have expanded and the constructions have therefore multiplied many folds. The complaints and the numbers relating to illegal constructions are not too pleasing, to say the least. Take the example of Delhi; there were more than 4600 complaints regarding illegal and unauthorized constructions in the past 18 months. Sometimes, these constructions include some religious places, shrines, temples, mosques, churches etc.; to remove or to take them to a different place requires a lot of effort. The razing of these structures tends to hurt religious sentiments which would again ignite a backlash against the ruling government. So, these cases are to be dealt with clarity and conviction, something which you rarely associate with the current government.
Even the vicinity of the ‘Symbol of Love’ Taj Mahal has not been spared. Many new or rather illegal structures have appeared and are adulterating its beauty. Not just the Taj Mahal, the other historical monuments in Agra suffer similar fate. Mumbai, Ahmadabad, Surat, Noida, Gurgaon are some other cities where illegal constructions are not at all uncommon.
Illegal constructions need to be razed keeping public interest in mind while the concerned municipal corporation also needs to be careful of the revolt which people would raise in that case. Many state governments charge some fees (in Gujarat it’s called Impact fees) for converting illegal construction into a legal one. And that can be a good source to generate income rather than demolishing the structure. The people and the builders need to respect the law and should not cross the boundaries. The enforcement of laws made for ensuring planned development of the cities and urban areas has been extremely poor and these laws have been violated with impunity. A proper and an efficient implementation of the law will help in bringing down these constructions. At times, construction of such buildings becomes hazardous for the public and creates traffic congestion. Therefore, it is imperative for the concerned public authorities to not only demolish such constructions but also impose adequate penalty on the wrongdoers.