Officials blamed for failing to arrest such constructions at the initial stage itself

The GHMC is keeping a close watch on buildings under construction and those deviating from the sanctioned plans would be demolished. Legal action and heavy penalties would be levied on old unauthorised buildings, said Commissioner M.T. Krishna Babu on Thursday.

“Let's control those under construction as it would not be fair to target old individual buildings unless a policy decision is taken. Efforts are on to ensure a single inspection so that the building plans clearance process is quicker by putting the onus of scrutiny to licensed engineers and architects till construction is completed. The town planning staff can take care of regulation only,” he explained.

Awareness stressed

Mr. Krishna Babu was addressing the elected council presided over by Mayor B. Kartika Reddy after corporators of different parties slammed the planning department for rampant illegal structures. Members – Mirza Baig (MIM), Singireddy Srinivas Reddy (TD), K. Venkatesh (Cong.) and others blamed officials for failing to arrest such constructions in the initial stage itself.

Despite standing court orders, illegal constructions were on, especially at Ayyappa Society, Madhapur and elsewhere. “We cannot keep a watch on constructions round the clock. People's acceptance of building norms is necessary. We have to bring about awareness among the people,” he said. A major exercise was also under way to strengthen the planning wing which has just 90-odd officials to scrutinise and regulate constructions. The wing could get 500 technically well-qualified personnel once the high-powered committee looking into the staffing pattern in the civic bodies submits a report.

He did accept that civil engineers were better equipped to check for construction quality but it was for the government to take a decision since all over the State town planners were doing the job.

Mr. Krishna Babu also urged corporators to choose stormwater drain repairs and fencing along them over the cement roads. Although fencing cost was not covered by the JNNURM, it would be taken up. He also admitted to delays in completing the drain remodelling due to delay in deciding on extent of widening, considering the presence of structures. Engineering chiefs of public health, GHMC and irrigation are looking at the “practical” widths possible and a decision would be taken at the Chief Minister's level to decide once for all.

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