Mumbai

No funds for demolition in Alibaug: Collector tells HC

Beach clean-up: The HC had earlier said all illegal structures along the Alibaug beaches should bedemolished. file photo

Beach clean-up: The HC had earlier said all illegal structures along the Alibaug beaches should bedemolished. file photo  

Petition claims private residences along beaches in violation of State, CRZ norms

Tasked by the Bombay High Court to demolish all illegal structures along the beaches in Alibaug, the Raigad Collector’s office told the court on Thursday that it does not have funds to carry out such demolition.

Since 2009, the High Court has been hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) alleging that several wealthy persons have constructed bungalows and private structures along the beaches in Alibaug in violation of the State’s and the Coastal Regulation Zone’s (CRZ) norms.

Appearing for the Collector’s office, lawyer P.B. Kakade told a Bench of Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice M.S. Karnik that his client had urged the court to direct the State government to extend some financial aid for the purpose.

Mr. Kakade said the Raigad district authorities and the Collector’s office had already written to the State stating that they do not have funds to purchase or engage the services of JCBs and other excavating and demolishing devices. “The Collector has urged this court to direct the State to allocate funds,” Mr. Kakade said.

At this, the Bench expressed surprise and asked, “Isn’t the district Collector also part of the State government? Then how can you write a letter to yourself asking for funds?”

The court directed the State urban development and revenue departments to look into the issue.

Earlier this month, the State had filed an affidavit in the court stating that orders had been issued to demolish fugitive jeweller Nirav Modi’s illegal bungalow in Alibaug. Mr. Modi, a key accused in the $2 billion Punjab National Bank fraud case, has fled the country.

Mr. Kakade told the court on Thursday that since the bungalow had been attached by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the State had written a letter to the ED stating that it needs to demolish the structure in compliance with a previous HC order. He also said of the 58 other illegal properties that were served the demolition notice on December 4, five had already been razed.

The Bench was hearing the petition filed by activist Surendra Dhavale urging the court to direct authorities concerned to demolish all unauthorised constructions within the low and high tide areas in Alibaug.

The petition claimed that there are around 175 such private residences in CRZ areas in villages such as Varsoli, Sasvane, Kolgaon and Dokvade, belonging to wealthy persons, including Mr. Modi, businessmen, and actors.

In September, another Bench of the HC had directed the Raigad Collector and sub-divisional magistrate to ensure that all illegal structures along the Alibaug beaches are demolished.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 3:35:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/no-funds-for-demolition-in-alibaug-collector-tells-hc/article25795768.ece

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