NEW DELHI

MCD to hammer illegal buildings down

NEW DELHI JULY 26. Sounding the alarms bell for the land and building mafia, the Municipal Commissioner, Rakesh Mehta, has directed all Deputy Commissioners to submit an action plan for tackling the menace of unauthorised constructions and encroachment of public land in their respective areas. All the 12 Zonal Commissioners have been asked to carry out a survey of ongoing unauthorised construction activities in their areas and submit a report to Mr. Mehta in the next ten days. "The demolition exercise should begin within a fortnight,'' he is reported to have directed the Deputy Commissioners.

Already, the survey of such unauthorised buildings has begun in South, Central and Rohini Zones. "This should not be a one time exercise. It should be a continuous process. No new unauthorised constructions should be allowed while action should be initiated against old ones,'' an official said quoting the direction issued to Zonal Commissioners.

The decision to carry out a survey and prepare an action plan with regard to unauthorised constructions and encroachment on public land comes after almost all Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) refused to cooperate with the civic body in tackling the menace. At Mr. Mehta's direction, the MCD had approached the RWAs for informing them about such constructions in the colony.

But officials of the RWAs refused by stating that they did not want to take on the land and building mafia particularly at a time when officials and politicians were hand in glove in the entire thing.

``This happens under the very nose of all MCD and Delhi Police officials. It is done openly during day time. Why would we make enemies when we know nothing is going to happen, even if we lodge a complaint,'' said D. M. Narang, general secretary of New Rajinder Nagar Association, who participated in such meetings.

Meanwhile, the strong land and building mafia is understood to have held closed-door meetings to discuss the fall-out of Mr. Mehta's stringent action. In order to stall the drive, the mafia is contemplating creating a law and order problem if large-scale demolitions were carried out. Feelers are being sent through politicians and bureaucrats to pressurise the Commissioner.

``Otherwise, he will have to be shifted out from the civic body. When we had Mr. Jagmohan shifted from the Union Urban Development Ministry, Mr. Mehta is only a small fry,'' one of the builders in Sainik Farms said.

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