Nagpur: The issue of Katol Nagar Parishad violating the construction rules just to protect a builder, and the then Katol NP CEO misleading the house by providing false information, was raised by MLCs in the Maharashtra Legislative Council on July 15. The issue reflects the dominance of a heavy weight politician and Katol MLA whose party is in power in the state. Therefore the silence of the said MLA and the Chief Minister over the issue pertaining to builders’ lobby is mysterious. Now, the builder has approached the court and passing his time seeking dates after dates of hearing.
Looking at the background of the issue, it is found that the Katol Nagar Parishad (KNP) had issued the required construction permit No. MCK/PWD/46/2003, dated June 13, 2003 to Jagdamba Realters Pvt Limited to construct a commercial complex, named, Orange Plaza, on 1.64 ar (about 4 acres) land, vide Khasara No. 615 (old) and 761 (new), city survey No. 3420 Mouja Katol. Under the sanctioned map, in all 219 shops and 6 halls were to be constructed in the said commercial complex. A proposal to construct swimming pool, badminton court and health club, etc, in the open space behind the complex was also sanctioned on June 13, 2003 itself. As the proposed complex was to be constructed on Nagpur-Katol-Jalalkheda state highway, it was specifically directed that 37 metre distance must be left between the state highway and the complex.
But, the then CEO of Katol Nagar Parishad, considering the interest of the builder, through the official concerned, granted permission to construct the commercial complex on the residential plot of land. It was the first mistake the CEO had committed. In fact, the permission of additional district collector was required for change of user.
The said issue was raised on December 7, 2005 during Winter Session of Maharashtra Legislative Council at Nagpur by the then BJP MLAs Nitin Gadkari, Pandurang Fundkar, Sagar Meghe and Jagdish Gupta. These members had asked the then government/ administration as to how without NA the commercial complex was constructed. At this, the reply given by the administration was that the Katol SDO had given permission for NA, but the fact is that the permission was given for residence-purpose.
The second question asked was about how much space should be left if the builder did not leave a distance of 37 metres off the state highway; to this, the reply was ’25 metres as per old rules in case of B and C level Nagar Parishads for ideal construction.’ This information is much against the provisions of GR dated March 9, 2001 which provides that 37 metre long distance should be left off the state highway.
The third question the MLCs raised was about converting the open space behind commercial complex into plots and unauthorized booking of them for sale, and what action was taken by the administration on this count. The reply was in negative. In fact the Katol Nagar Parishad CEO knew it well that the builder had moved his application on July 5, 2005 before the additional collector for re-doing of NA of the entire land. Furnishing a misleading reply the then CEO told the Legislative Council that the entire land was not commercially certified NA.
As per an expert on Nagar Parishad affairs, the sanction of town planning department of collectorate Nagpur should have been sought first and then the Nagar Parishad should have granted sanction for construction of commercial complex. However, the construction of commercial complex has been done without any proper sanction and the space of 37 metres has not been left off the state highway. It got surfaced by the official correspondence made between Katol CEO and town planning department of collectorate on February 6, 2008 that in stead of showing commercial complex only a plot of land was shown in the map and got it sanctioned.
On August 13, 2008 the town planning department wrote a letter to additional collector mentioning as many as 11 suggestions with a direction to regularize it while the additional collector had already made its NA on March 12, 2007.
It was revealed from the correspondence between Nagpur district collector and the Katol SDO that the construction work was in progress at a distance of 23.6 metres from the state highway, and there would be no problem in certifying commercial and residential NA, provided the NOC from Katol Nagar Parishad and PWD as well as other departments concerned has been obtained.
The then additional collector, Nagpur and the then executive engineer,PWD, Nagpur on May 24, 2005 asked for a report about NA issue, and a report was submitted on October 13, 2005 that the said commercial complex was constructed on state highway, in violation of state government GR/ RDB/ 1081/ 871/ Roads 7/ dated 9.3.2001. It was then suggested that it was mandatory to leave the distance of 37 metres off the state highway and then the construction should have been made, and so NA certification cannot be issued. However, the additional collector tried to turn winds in favour of the builder by pressurizing the EE, PWD, Nagpur but he could not succeed. Consequently, the additional collector, Nagpur issued NA order on March 12, 2007,according to which residential construction was to be made at 7400 sq metres while commercial complex was to be constructed on 9000 sq metres.
Through RTI application on April 9, 2012, the sanction for construction work has been given on 12047.09 sq metres and vacant space is on 4015 sq metres while the construction has been made on FSI free land. RTI information says, total FSI 16062.79 sq metres is for construction of road, etc while remaining FSI 12047.093 sq metres after deducting 25% FSI 4015.697 sq metres for construction of commercial complex. Here the question is that when all FSI is exhausted how the second time NA certification be issued for residential plots on the sanction of Nagar Parishad. The beneficiaries of this plot are Dr Amit Band (Hospital) and Pravin Loye (huge godown owner).
RTI information sought on May 15, 2012 also revealed that the builder did not obtain occupation certificate, the construction work is not done as per government norms and the deed of declaration of complex is also not made. But the builder got the deed of declaration made on March 16, 2007 from the sub-registrar’s office. It clearly read that any change could be made with the common consent of all shop-keepers.
In the said case, a local resident Pratap Tate had lodged a complaint with CEO Katol in year 2013, and as a result the Nagar Parishad had directed the builder to demolish the illegal construction-work. The Builder then obtained a stay order from Katol court against the notice.Tate told the Nagar Parishad administration that if the Nagar Parishad filed reply as per Case Law- court decision 2008 (3)-686, 2005 (3)BCR-300, 2005(4)BCR-557 the decision may go in favour of Nagar aprishad. However, a year has passed, the CEO Katol and Nagar Parishad lawyer have not filed any affidavit so far in the interest of the Nagar Parishad. And, the builder is passing time seeking dates after dates from the court.
All these developments cannot go unespaced from the scan of the Chief Minister, the Union Transport Minister and other party MLAs, yet the builder’s irregularities have not caught their sight. The citizens are thus perplexed as to how to define ‘achhe din.’
Rajeev Ranjan Kushwaha ( firstname.lastname@example.org)