NMMC Chief Dr Ramaswami to examine legal status of illegal religious structures


CIDCO and MIDC have been given a 15-day deadline by NMMC chief, Dr N Ramaswami, who is the chairman of the illegal religious structures committee, to review applications to examine their legal status and submit reports.

In a meeting held by the committee at NMMC headquarters on Thursday, the agencies were instructed to determine the status of such structures before razing them. The meeting was attended by CIDCO, MIDC, Forest and Mangroves officials, NMMC ward officers as well as encroachment and town planning officers.

“Before the fifth of every month a report is to be submitted with the state by the committee stating the progress in removing illegal shrines. While the committee has decided that no illegal structures constructed after 2009 are to be regularized, agencies such as Cidco and MIDC need to review applications that are claiming legal status before proceeding with demolition. They have been asked to complete the review within 15 days and submit a report,” said Ramaswami.

Both MIDC and CIDCO, according to their survey reports, have over 450 illegal religious structures within their jurisdictions. The two agencies have reportedly also received over 100-odd applications seeking for regularization on grounds of payment of water bill or property tax.

The authorities will have to decide whether such structures can be relocated or regularized. “CIDCO and MIDC must determine the legality of such claims. Failure to do so will be contempt of court,” said additional municipal commissioner, Ankush Chavan.

 With the Bombay high court setting November 17, 2017, as the deadline for removal of all illegal shrines, other authorities such as forest, railways, mangroves were asked to expedite their process.

“There are over 131 applications disputing their illegal status. We will review them and proceed. There could be law and order issue during demolitions so cop cover will be needed too,” said the chief PRO of CIDCO Mohan Ninave. MIDC officials were not available for comment.