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RTI reveals no record of illegal constructions at BMC

The BMC’s ‘most coveted’ H (West) ward has no record of files related to the building and factories department that keeps tabs on unauthorised constructions and illegal activities in the ward. According to the civic body, the complaints citizens file about unauthorised constructions ‘get disposed of’ hence records are not maintained.

A designated officer or assistant engineer (building and factories) is entrusted with the job of checking and monitoring illegalities.

In a Right to Information (RTI) application filed by Leslie Almeida on December 11, information was sought on the number of complaints filed over unauthorised constructions, number of MRTP notices issued, number of notices issued under MMC Act, number of FIRs (first information reports) filed for non-compliance of the notices and the number of demolitions carried out. Almeida received a reply on December 29 that said the information was not available in the office record and hence it could not be made available.

Almeida was the same activist who in 2013 blew the whistle on missing files from BMC’s building proposals department.

Thereafter, the BMC’s H (West) ward office had filed a police complaint saying that the files of 3,474 buildings from Bandra to Jogeshwari had gone missing in over four decades from 1966 to 2009. This accounted for around 10 per cent of the belt’s 35,000 buildings.

Around 10 per cent of the missing files – or around 300 files – concerned buildings that were exclusively in the ‘lucrative’ H-West ward (Bandra-Khar-Santa Cruz). The issue was raised in the Assembly the files were reconstructed.

When contacted, designated officer, assistant engineer Kishore Jadhav, said, “We have not maintained a record of the number of complaints filed and action taken. We dispose of the files. But there are some cases for which we have records from 2005.”

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