Saturday, July 7, 2012

Illegal Constructions & the City!

The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly...Abraham Lincoln

Each day when we read in news about some illegal construction has been noticed or demolished these words must be coming to the minds of a common man. Very recently there has been photographs of nearly ready to occupy buildings being demolished by Municipal Corporation squad & the ho-hallah it created amongst political circles as well in society. What I think is how the families who have booked flat in these buildings would have been feeling watching their home getting demolished. Many a may not be even knowing the reason for this action! Many will ask the questions like what authorities are doing till the construction is being done to this level & why not to prevent them before the work goes ahead at site? Well the answer isn’t that simple as it looks by the quote. First of all we have to understand what an illegal construction is & then we can ask why its happening & then we can use the preventive methods. Many a may not like my theory as it may sound like justifying the act but as I said it’s a multifold issue which needs to be examined from different directions. It’s like a cancer which shows up some where in body & the root cause is some where else.

An illegal construction is something which is build without taking proper clearances from the local governing authorities, is the very simple & clear definition. Unfortunate that most common people don’t understand the legalities of this permission process nor are very keen to get the knowledge about the same. City wise these governing authorities are different i.e. in Pune we have Municipal Corporation. Out of Corporation limits we have Collectorate & Town Planning & then there are Cantonments as well Municipalities at town level. Each these governing body have their own set of rules & regulation about the land use & construction on the same. Mostly at ever inch in our country we need to have take permission from such local authority before starting the construction & have periodical checking from them & obtain occupancy certificate before starting use of the construction we have done on the land. It’s a pretty standard & simple procedure I must say. All a customer has to ask for the developer is for sanctioned copies of the maps of his home & whether the home he is buying is as per these sanctioned maps or not! Though numbers of departments are involved in this process yet the sanctioning authority is single at every city or town & it’s their job to check the illegality involved if any before giving permission to any of the construction.
The illegality may be of two types on general basis, first is about the title of the land i.e. ownership & second is about the wrong use of the land for which it has been reserved. The first kind of illegality can be controlled right at the application level of the sanction as without proper ownership basis most of the authorities don’t entertain the application for the development of the land. Documents like 7/12 or property card, demarcation as well now many of them ask for search title report from advocate so as to avoid any future dispute about the ownership of the land. Yet the documentation of these things is a long & tedious process & there are many examples of litigation about the same. Any construction being done on a land of which ownership is in question is also an illegal construction. Adarsh scam which becomes head line of media can be called of this type of illegality i.e. ownership dispute between Military & Govt over the land on which the building has been built.
Another type is wrong use of the land other than for which it has been reserved for. Here again mostly all governing authorities has to have their master plan of land use within their jurisdiction like PMC has Development Plan or DP & Collectorate  /Town Planning have Regional Plan i.e. RP. In this plan all the lands coming under the area of jurisdiction is marked for different purposes by different color code. Usually yellow is for indicating residential zone & homes are allowed only in this zone. Majority of cases coming in lime light for illegality are in this category though usually a bit late. Reason is lacuna in the DP or RP as they are made of very small scale on drawings & at site the ground conditions may be different. For e.g. a river width marked on drawing may be less but at site it may be much bigger & vise versa. In such case any thing built at site when compared to the development plan may look like violation of the land use & which is true also in many cases. Here to stream line & simplify the sanctioning process of the projects & reduce the time involved in the same is also very much important. As the land is a costly affair each passing day making delay to the project is a pinch to the pocket of the developer & people do find short cuts to avoid such delays which in turns can lead to illegality is also a fact. All such things in turns make a legal home more costly in comparison to an illegal home. Also to take stringent & immediate action is equally important than to wait till the construction works gets completed at site causing major damage to life time savings of the people who have booked their homes in such project. Also the governing bodies can regularly publish list of constructions they have cleared; on their web site or in media to let the common man know whether the project where he has booked his home is properly sanctioned or not!

Now let’s see why some one tends to enter in to illegality & why it’s happening at first place? First again accept that all the city’s are growing & urbanization is the thing in. Majority of the village crowd is moving to the neighboring city’s & the change is very fast especially in last decade thus need of the homes grow at very high speed in city’s & when such need is there, its bound to attract all kinds of ill elements. We have observed in past about smuggling of gold & electronics goods in 80’s when these things were heavily taxed & out of reach of most commoners. Similarly the case is now about the home only unfortunate part is we cant import land neither can produce it in any factory here making the land as most sought after thing in Urban India. Land is basic raw product of housing industry & we have many departments as well laws governing use of the same. Categorily the land is being utilized for other uses also like Agriculture, Industrial, Recreation & many reservations from roads to water bodies & land is limited. A society can’t survive with just homes or buildings on it but it needs all above mentioned uses but considering the prime need utilizing the land for home making seems to generate maximum money as well it is in demand so most people wants to the land to be used for home making. Again the land which is supposed to be used for home making has certain requirements about the infrastructural facilities around as one can build a home in desert where land is in abundance but no one can go & live there. So there are some pieces of lands which are in more demand in comparison to other lands where the entire necessary infrastructure essential for living is available. Here is where we are total failure on creating the balanced infrastructure all around & within the city thus many people demanding the same location where all such things are available like shopping, schools & medical etc. The land is limited which has been reserved for building houses , yet demand is ever growing & its this demand which makes people start encroaching the adjoining lands which are reserved for other purposes or forge the documents of the ownership. I am not justifying the acts of people who usually are Builders; I am just stating the facts of illegality.
Unfortunate is this fight is between the people who wants to make money out of it & the governing bodies but the victim are innocent common men who got caught in between just to save few rupees, book their home in such constructions & ends up loosing that also. Only as they are a bit cheaper in compare to legal homes. The term affordable housing is just like a dream which will never gets fulfilled for these common men leaving them no option to opt for illegal construction to achieve their dream of having a home of their own is a fact. Though who don’t want to enter in such deals should keep their eyes open & deal with reputed names only & even then should get all the information of legalities involved & get the documentation part thoroughly checked by their own reliable sources. Even then some thing can go wrong & the Governing body can revoke their sanction itself like has happened in a case at infamous Prabhat road construction. But then that’s fate is all I can say; in most cases if we deal carefully then its always better to afford some delay in deciding than repenting later & curse the law & the system for what you suffered is the wise way to look at it! In all this what common man expects is some one should understand his needs & provide him just the four walls which he can call his legal home giving him his peace of mind.

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Envo-Power Committee, Credai, Pune

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1 comment:

  1. Dear Sanjay,

    Thanks for the information sharing with all.. But you have not mention what to do to demolish illegal construction???

    I stay in Navi Mumbai, In my society, 95 % illegal construction has been done while constructing the building... Some members are in favor of the builder cuz they earn money from them...

    Builder has already illegally captured 3/4 parking area and constructed Kitchen, Toilet & Bathroom and Lounge area (place to drink) for his bear bar restaurant..

    Bar working crews are staying inside the society... Committee members themselves only built up two floor rooms in the parking area for them...

    Some member are don't bother as their flats are on rent... only 10 members society it is.. Out of 10, 5 members are with the builder... 2 / 3 people have given it on rent..

    Rest r scared and including me...

    One member he works in Govt office and another in Police .. They are Builder's relative..

    If we say something about the parking space to use.. they threat with a goons...

    Now u tell how to fight and get justices...

    We r afraid that some thing bad will happen to our family.. We and our family are staying in scare since last 8 years...

    Help us if u want...

    Email Me :


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