It has been four years since he started his campaign, largely leaning on the RTI Act, to prod the Mangalore City Corporation to pull up a builder for alleged violations on an under-construction building on N.G. Road, Attavar. On August 31, Sudesh K. Derebail secured a signed order from the corporation Commissioner asking the builder to stop the construction. Mr. Derebail’s efforts had yielded fruit or so he thought.
Even on Saturday, nearly two months since the order was passed, construction was in full swing at the ‘Presidency Spectrum’ residential site.
According to the corporation order, a spot inspection was conducted and a report submitted on January 11. It listed one building violation: extension of balconies jutting into the space meant for ducts on the outer wall. This duct space provided for water supply, sewerage, and other lines is referred to as cutout in the order copy. It said: “The (size of) cutouts are not 2.84x1.52 m and 5.54x1 m on the first and second floor, due to the construction of balconies of size 3.59x1.10 metres,” adding that “there has not been enough protection to ensure that debris does not fall on neighbouring buildings”.
Mr. Derebail’s opposition to the project stems from its start in 2008, when the foundation work saw flooding of his house after a spell of heavy rain. He filed a police complaint, saying he incurred damages worth Rs. 72,000; but a compromise was reached at Rs. 40,000. “I was so scared of my old house falling during rains or flooding that even on the slightest drizzle, I would take my family and my 72-year-old mother to a hotel,” he said.
Haider, Managing Director of Presidency, denied the violations, and said: “The corporation had a problem with the duct layout. So, we have applied for a renewed licence for internal duct. We have got the approval from MUDA (Mangalore Urban Development Authority) and orally, the Commissioner has approved this licence. In effect, the order does not hold.” He alleged that Mr. Derebail’s accusations had “ulterior motives”.
MCC Commissioner Harish Kumar said that until the renewed licence was approved by the MCC, all work had to be stopped according to the order previously sent by the corporation. “It has not come to my notice that construction had been going on. I will send officials to inspect the site,” he said.