In guise of helping common man State benefiting builders mafia: UNJKSS


The Up Nagariay Jan Kalayan Samanavay Samiti (UPJKSS), Shimla Nagarik Sabha and others residents welfare associations today came down heavily on the Virbhadra Singh Government blaming it to benefiting builder mafia in guise of helping common man and people of merged areas after bring regularization policy last year.

Alleging this in a press conference in Shimla today, President of UNJKSS, Mr. Chanderpal Mehta, Vice President Mr. Kanwar Bhupinder Singh and General Secretary Mr. Govind Chitranta pointed out that Town and Country Planning Act 1977 never implemented in letter and spirits today stand virtually in- fructuous.


“In last 40 yrs from, Town and Country Planning (TCP) Department could not implement the Act itself violated the provision”, they alleged. ”Department has become  in-fructuous by not implementing the provisions in letter and spirit and also created more space for violation in view of repeated introduction of retention polices now and then”. The act was amended more than ten time diluting its provisions to favor the builder mafia however department never exhibited its planning area which was essential under its  provision, Mr. Chitranta said.


” The act should became in-fructuous 1987 as the department could not exhibited  planning area and subsequently failed to issue the notices to the its violators now supposed to regularized under retention policy brought last years after amending the act .” he said. ” If it had been seriously implemented  the act in letter and spirit department should have proper record regarding number of urban and civic bodies, gram panchayats, villages and habitations and inhabitants comes under its ambit however it did not responded to a RTI query sought by the UNJKSS so for ” They alleged.


”If department could not know about the its factual position, actual planning areas and number of peoples come under their preview, how could people construed to be violator of TCP Act in the absence of any notices issued to them during such construction ” Mr Kanwar argued. Mr. Govind Chitranta said that those residents who were living in the surrounding villages of Shimla had inherited lands or houses, virtually declared violators of TCP Act after amending this act in 2016 to bring the policy.


He pointed out that the Government policy to regularized the constructions is silent about the real state holders and helping builders and those who are the big land sharks. ” The policy contradicts the number of stakeholders or its beneficiaries as it did not explain whom it was for.” He said that four different type of house owners live in the Shimla and other civic bodies of state including those who are inhabitants of merged areas and native people. Those who bought some piece of land and built their structure before and after coming in effect of TCP Act come into force.


Those who had bought flats, altered the existing approved construction and who had illegally occupying public land and trespasser on the MC lands. Mr. Chitranta argued that amendment did not provides any clue whom it was to benefit as all these categories are should have been segregated in amended TCP Act. A writ petition also pending in Himachal Pradesh High Court challenging the Government move alleging that policy would give flip to the illegal constructions vis-a-vis to the law abiding citizens.


”We demand ‘one time settlement’ as state virtually brought this policy to benefit the builders and land mafia.” the added. They said that this demand was raised before the Chief Minister Mr. Virbhadra Singh, Ministry of Urban Development and TCP Mr. Sudhir Sharma several time however they never took them seriously. State could not force people belong to merged area to pay hefty deviation fee at par with the builders and their construction should be deemed regularized on time settlement basis without charging regularization fee or penalty from them.


They also said that policy also enforcing them to to submit structural and stability safety certificates before submitting their plan to the TCP is unacceptable to them. How one could submit  structural safety certificate of their old houses which were built up during their life span and in last thirty to forty years, they pointed out. Only builders lobby could procure such structural safety certificate after paying for so called experts as policy also benefits middle men to grab money in the name of providing it. Affidavit were also being taken from the house owners of stability to bound them.


UNJKSS emphasized that law governs constructions made before passing of law retrospectively however it should be implemented prospectively. Concerned minster was staking false claims that most of house  owners had applied under the policy moreover he did not have any records which shows the number of constructions suppose to be cover under the it, residents alleged. State have submitted in the court that only 8755 people were applied for regularization moreover over 40,000 to 50,000 still are out of its coverage.  Mr Chitranta said. He claimed that out of 8755 only 5600 houses owners may be cover in the urban areas as most of them did not applied under the policy seeking separate one time settlement.

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ML Verma is a Senior journalist, with more than a decade of experience of active reporting for electronic media, news agencies and fast paced online media.

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