Special Correspondent

Encroachments in Kodaikanal

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed the District Collector (Dindigul), the Kodaikanal Municipal Commissioner and the Municipal Administration and Water Supply Secretary to file a joint or separate report showing the time frame in which they intend to remove encroachments or complete the proceedings.

Passing orders on a batch of writ petitions, a Division Bench consisting of Justices S.J. Mukhopadhaya and R. Sudhakar said the authorities should give definite information regarding the date by which encroachments by commercial complexes/shops, residential houses and huts on poromboke/government land and municipal land would be removed.

Time schedule

The time schedule by which the proceedings for removal of encroachments would be completed if started under section 217-J of the Tamil Nadu District Municipalities Act (TNDMA) with regard to unauthorised construction of commercial and residential buildings on patta land; time schedule by which appeal or revision would be finalised, if any pending, before the competent authority under the TNDMA and the time frame by which the municipality intended to initiate such proceedings against others who had constructed commercial and residential buildings on patta land without prior permission or in deviation of the sanctioned plan and the approximate time by which it intended to complete the same should also be submitted. The court has listed the case for further hearing on March 1.

The Bench said from records it appeared that directions were issued by the High Court in several cases from time to time for removing unauthorised encroachments/constructions on government land/ municipality land and constructions on patta land without permission from the competent authority.

Though a Special Survey Team conducted a survey pursuant to the court order and submitted a report, no satisfactory progress had been made in removing unauthorised encroachments.

The Bench said from the report it found that encroachments had been made since long and subsequently encroachments had been made contrary to provisions of Chapter X-A of the TNDMA since 1993.

It was not in dispute that several encroachments had been made on poromboke/government and municipal land, which were to be removed pursuant to the court's order immediately. Where persons had constructed buildings on their own patta land but without sanction of map, proceedings had to be initiated under section 217-J of TNDMA.

In many cases, such proceedings, though initiated, had not reached finality. In many cases, where appeals or review petitions had been preferred, the matters were pending.