Shops Getting Built Again on Encroached Property of City Demolished in March 2021 by MCC
Mangaluru: No wonder some people term MCC (Mangaluru City Corporation) as ‘Mangaluru Corrupt Centre’- for the fact for all the corruption/bribing etc that takes place in the building between some of the corrupt officials when it comes to Town Planning Projects or in issuing licences without inspection- all for exchange of BIG moolah aka MONEY! With several illegal constructions being seen in Mangaluru, and MCC has turned a blind eye against them, and such illegal constructions still continue, until they are caught red-handed or when such constructions come in the way of development works of MCC or Mangaluru Smart City Ltd (MSCL).
And here is one such example of illegal constructions of shops constructed decades ago by the building owner of SHALIMAR COMPLEX, located opposite to Kankanady Market in the City. And such illegal construction came to light when MCC was in the process of developmental works of footpath cum drainage/UGD in that vicinity. And while the work was going on these illegal shops built on the encroached City property had to be demolished, after notice being sent to the building owner. 5-6 Shops built by building owner of ‘SHALIMAR’ on the encroached property of City were demolished by Mangaluru City Corporation (MCC) to make way for Footpath/Drainage
In a press release to media, RTI and Social Activist Gerard Towers has mentioned, “Dear Media friends, This is the building, named SHALIMAR COMPLEX, situated at KANKANADY junction, opposite Kankanady Market, besides GANESH MEDICALS, which was caught by MCC authority, for ENCROACHING public ROAD, after receiving COMPLAINT on SOCIAL MEDIA couple of months back and the OWNERS were made to remove the unauthorized part of CONSTRUCTION which was there from more than 10 years. This construction happened hand in glove with the Corporator and the Town planning Dept.
RTI and Social Activist Gerard Towers further said, “Now SURPRISINGLY, again the same building authority has STARTED constructing the same DEMOLISHED PART to give way for the shops that were demolished a couple of months back, during the recent lockdown and it’s a known fact that this is ONCE again done, with the knowledge of the MCC authority”.
RTI and Social Activist Gerard Towers also said, “I request the MEDIA to kindly take up this CRIMINAL ISSUE with the District administration and help in putting a STOP to this ILLEGAL WORK immediately, which will make a HAZARD to the said busy area of KANKANADY, where thousands of COMMUTERS pass throughout the DAY. If this project is ALLOWED with the KNOWLEDGE of the CITY’S ADMINISTRATION, then nothing is LEFT to overrule the LAWS of MCC TOWN PLANNING SECTION”.
Well said by Gerard. It is deplorable that encroachments and illegal constructions go unnoticed by authorities who only wake up or take note once the encroachment and subsequent construction is complete. Why don’t authorities prevent encroachment in the first place itself crying foul once it is complete? Authorities in charge of granting building permission should make regular visits to areas that are most vulnerable to illegal constructions and take details before it is too late. Those failing to discharge their duty appropriately must be fined and those indulging in illegal constructions must be booked by the higher-ups to see that they do not commit the same mistake again. The first place to stop encroachments is at the site itself. If construction is not legit it should be dealt with sternly. Officials must book wrong-doers and raze the illegal construction without any delay. After noticing quite a few constructions of shops/other businesses in the encroached property, many activists have complained to the MCC authorities, but no action has been taken. This is nothing but a hand-in-hand deal between the MCC Town Planning Officers and the builders. And the only way to stop such activities is to have Ward Committees in every 60 city Wards, but sadly the ward Committees are not formed since the MCC officials and corporators want to make money, the easy way.
The construction of unauthorized structures on unauthorized land is a serious problem that the government, including our City, are fighting against. Although various laws and demolition campaigns have helped to shed light on such activities, much more still needs to be done before such illegal acts are completely rid of this curse. Developers working on the construction of illegal buildings are responsible for putting financial and physical damage on investors and property buyers. Such structures are often made in violation of municipal codes and safety rules and may include the use of faulty building materials, resulting in the demolition of buildings. In a developing city, about 30 to 60 percent of the population lives in settlements or unauthorized areas.
Expanding the population puts more pressure on the city’s infrastructure and resources. This situation has been taken advantage of by unscrupulous developers who lure people into looking for a roof over their head. Later, they face the consequences of buying or living in an illegal building. The issue of illegal encroachments is a longstanding one. The rise in the number of encroachments in the city shows the failure of the civic body to control the issue. As per an activist who is a civil engineer by profession says- Firstly, all the illegal encroachments must be razed immediately. Secondly, those indulging in illegal constructions must be fined heavily. They must also be prevented from indulging in construction work for a period of five years and they must be blacklisted so that potential buyers are aware. Thirdly, it is also important to ensure that proper awareness campaigns are held so that citizens are aware of the consequences of being involved in activities such as illegal construction and encroachments. It is the duty of both the civic body as well as citizens to ensure that such illegal activities are prevented in the city.
Land sharks in the city have not only been encroaching on every piece of vacant land but are also undertaking the construction of illegal residential and commercial complexes and going to the extent of selling them to gullible buyers. Due to the laxity of officials, illegal constructions on such encroached lands is a menace that is growing by the day. In order to put an end to this menace, MCC should set up a special cell that will monitor areas by undertaking intense checks of every area in the city periodically and take immediate steps to demolish illegal structures coming up. Sadly, for which such a cell does not exist at the moment. For this, the officials must be vested with powers to construct boundary walls on all sides of a vulnerable property to prevent encroachment and issue legal notices to concerned parties. However powerful and influential the encroacher may be, strict action must be initiated against the guilty. This is the only way to deter wrongdoers from encroaching vacant and access roads.
Yet another very good suggestion given by Nigel Albuquerque, one of the Founders of MCC Civic Group is “To ensure that there are no illegal constructions and encroachment, MCC should install CCTV cameras on a war footing at all the vulnerable points to monitor these areas. Sweepers and supervisors who visit the lanes and bylanes for cleaning purposes should be given cash awards or incentives for informing the illegal constructions and encroachments if any. Once identified strict action must be taken against those responsible. Generally, an encroachment or illegal construction is done in connivance with the officials and then they apply for regularization which has become a routine procedure in our state. Political leaders also play a major role in this regard and help the residents to encroach/construct without permission. Unless demolition of illegal structures and encroachment is done, this menace will continue to exist as people are taking undue advantage of the existing rules”.
Now that we have an experienced Mayor Premanand Shetty, in whom the Citizens have full faith in the developmental works in the City, and who has assured on the day he took charge as MCC Mayor that he will see that developmental works are done smoothly and systematically, let us all keep our fingers crossed and see whether he practices what he has preached? In the meantime, we all know that CORRUPTION will not STOP in MCC, no matter what! Hope the MCC Commissioner Akshy Sridhar and Mayor Premanand Shetty will look into this ongoing project at Shalimar Complex and will do the needful.