Sandeep Joshi

Realtors have started commercial activities from residences

NEW DELHI: Despite drawing much flak from the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court during the last few months for its failure to check rampant illegal constructions and misuse of residential properties for commercial purposes, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi has failed to check ongoing construction of unauthorised structures and opening of shops in residential areas.

As a result, residents, particularly realtors, have started illegal constructions and commercial activities across the city particularly in area likes Rohini, Pitampura, Preet Vihar, Janakpuri, Kohat Enclave, Karol Bagh, Patel Nagar, Rajendra Nagar, Shahdara, Kingsway Camp, South Extension, Malviya Nagar, Lajpat Nagar, Uttam Nagar, Najafgarh, Mehrauli and Krishna Nagar. Interestingly, these are the same localities where the MCD had demolished a large number of unauthorised structures and sealed thousands of illegal shops during its drive after orders from the courts. And in some places even those structures that were razed during the drive are being reconstructed, that too after clarification from Municipal Commissioner A.K. Nigam that unauthorised structures demolished before the Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006 came into force cannot be reconstructed.

"Though the civic body might be mooting big plans to check illegal constructions and commercial activities in the Capital, that includes forming special task forces for each zone and setting up a separate control room at its headquarters Town Hall, the fact is that its field staff are still not serious about controlling illegal construction activities in the city," said a senior Congress Councillor. Even the court commissioners, appointed by the High Court for all the 12 civic zones to carry out inspections and report about illegal construction activities, have found that in several areas, blatant violation of building by-laws is still continuing. They have been reporting these matters to the High Court. Interestingly, Councillors, who have not been very happy since the appointments of the court commissioner, are now questioning their utility in the wake of the passage of the Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006.

Claiming that the MCD field staff was under pressure from the Councillors to go soft on ongoing illegal constructions as the civic body elections were just a few months away, a senior MCD official said the ruling Congress is very cautious on the whole issue and does not want to annoy people who are still very angry with the twin drives that led to razing and sealing of thousands of illegal structures across the Capital. "They are now trying to misinterpret the new Act that talks only about maintaining status quo on structures built before January 1, 2006, and does not allow any illegal construction activity or illegal commercialisation in the city," the official added.