Issues bailable warrants to owners of four garment houses

Raising the spectre of unsafe buildings in the Walled City having the potential of causing “serious mishaps” as in Thane recently or in Lalita Park in East Delhi a couple of years ago, Delhi Lokayukta Manmohan Sarin has issued bailable warrants against the proprietors of four garment houses operating out of one such building in a case in which a complaint had been filed against a councillor for carrying out unauthorised constructions.

Mr. Justice Sarin said it needs to be reckoned that carrying out of such reconstructions in the Walled City “without a sanctioned plan and without adequate safety measures under the supervision of structural engineers and architects” endangers the safety and has the potential of causing “serious mishaps” like the Lalita Park collapse in Delhi or the recent tragedy in Thane.

In view of the situation, the Lokayukta said “it is time that the Corporation sends a clear message to the builders and those involved in unauthorised constructions and reconstructions that the same shall not be countenanced. Even after liberalisation of floor area ratio, still unauthorised constructions / reconstructions are being carried out with impunity in the Walled City”.

The complainant, Aman Gupta, had furnished particulars regarding unauthorised constructions, which the Lokayukta said “have been, prima facie, found to be with substance”.

The complaint had been made against Councillor from Chandni Chowk Ward No. 80 Surekha Gupta, who the Lokayukta said, in her reply, claimed that “she has been working very diligently and honestly and that she has no concern whatsoever with the properties mentioned in the complaint and they do not belong either to her or any member of her family.”

Stating that “it is apparent that from the stand being taken by the Councillor / public functionary that she professes to have no interest whatsoever in these building,” the Lokayukta said “it would obviously follow as a necessary corollary that pending further inquiry if action in accordance with law is taken, then as far as the respondent is concerned, she cannot object to the same.”

The Lokayukta said he acknowledges the suggestion by the standing counsel for North Delhi Municipal Corporation that in such cases, the power discom and the Delhi Jal Board should pass directions for discontinuance of water and electricity supply upon receiving intimation from the NDMC that there is unauthorised construction/ reconstruction. “This,” he said, “itself would render commercially unviable such ventures of unauthorised constructions.”

On the basis of the complaint notices were issued to four fabric houses, who were tenants in 2786, Mohalla Chira Khana, Nai Sarak, with the directions to place on record documents showing their tenancy and the particulars of landlord. But as the proprietors did not present themselves, bailable warrants were issued against them for a sum of Rs.5,000.

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