“Such a young municipal corporation and this is happening! What will happen after a few years? It will become like Mumbai, Kalyan-Dombivli and Ulhasnagar. People are dying (in illegal building crashes),’’ the HC said while hearing a plea filed last year seeking the demolition of all illegal structures in Vasai-Virar.
Don’t indulge in blame game, HC tells VVMC
An HC bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish Kulkarni slammed the Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC) over illegal constructions in the area while hearing a PIL by Nalasopara resident Terrence Hendriques. When VVMC’s advocate Swati Sagwekar informed the court that 9,000 illegal structures had been identified, the CJ asked: “What action have you taken? You are acknowledging what is in the petition.’’
On being informed that the VVMC was formed in 2011, Justice Kulkarni said: “Nine years and 9,000 illegal constructions.” On Sagwekar’s reply that they had come up when Cidco was in charge, Justice Kulkarni shot back: “Don’t indulge in blame game. You have to take action. We see the failure of corporations in the entire state. This is causing agony and pain to citizens.”
The entire Vasai-Virar belt has become a hub for unauthorised buildings, including many seaside resorts which have come up in flagrant violation of coastal regulations. The court has rightly questioned the local corporation for failing to act against illegal constructions, which could pose a grave risk to people residing in such structures.TimesView
Disputing VVMC’s data, Hendriques’s advocate Ajay Jaiswal claimed there are around 12,000 illegal structures. “There is open construction in front of their eyes,’’ he added.
The judges said if VVMC is in no position to function in accordance with law, they will direct it to be dissolved and appoint an administrator. Sagwekar informed the HC that the VVMC had already been dissolved in June 2020 and an administrator appointed because elections could not be held due to the pandemic.
In their order, the judges said they expect the administrator, who is the municipal chief, “to proceed in accordance with law and take appropriate action’’ against the unauthorised constructions and for this purpose he can move HC. After two weeks, he has to place on record his “future course of action”.