The department has also created an online database of all show-cause and restoration notices, and FIRs related to illegal construction since 1975 for follow-ups. Officials said that Aravali transgressions form a bulk of the department’s anti-encroachment operations, particularly farmhouses that have sprouted all over the protected Aravali foothills because of the private ownership pattern of the land.
“There is a plan to restructure the department and create a special wing so as to make enforcement more effective with focus on the Aravalis,” DTCP director general KM Pandurang told TOI. “The number of district town planners in Gurgaon will also be increased from two to four and their zones will be divided.”
Pandurang said the online data of all show-cause and restoration notices as well as FIRs will also be followed up by the new enforcement wing, and the pending cases will be taken to conclusion. “If the department finds that action was not taken after issuing notices and registering FIRs, the officials concerned will be questioned,” he said.
On actions taken against illegal colonies, the DTCP chief said that over the past one year, there have been several anti-encroachment drives. “Officials have been strictly directed to stop these colonies at initial stages, failing which they get occupied and it becomes difficult for us to take action against them,” he said.
Pandurang lauded the Gurgaon team for its success in razing the newly carved out illegal colonies, though he said that “around 20% of the task is still pending and needs to be done in a more effective way”. “The department has been taking strict action against illegal farmhouse colonies as five to six such colonies have been demolished in the past six months in and around Gurgaon, including in Bandhwari and Raisina.”
The DTCP chief also said that he has directed his officials to spread awareness among people to not invest in illegal colonies and check the legal status of the same before putting in their hard-earned money. “Those violating building norms will also be strictly dealt with.”
When contacted, district town planner (enforcement) RS Batth said that with the focus on the Aravalis, deputy commissioner Yash Garg has also constituted a team of officials from the departments concerned, including revenue, town and country planning, forest, Municipal Council of Sohna and the civic bodies of Gurgaon and Manesar.
“A comprehensive action plan to protect the forest area from encroachers and developers of illegal farmhouse colonies will be prepared at a meeting scheduled for Tuesday,” he said.
Asked about the flooding inside the DTCP office of Gurgaon during the recent monsoon showers, Pandurang said that a project report is being prepared and soon land will be finalised for the construction of a new office. “Currently, the office is being run from the HSVP office premises, which falls in a low-lying area that leads to rainwater accumulation,” he said.