Baghdadiya Colony: NMC stops razing illegal bldgs after protests, HC stay

Nagpur: Tension gripped Baghdadiya Colony near Baba Farid Nagar on Tuesday morning after Nagpur Municipal Corporation’s anti-encroachment department reached to demolish 134 illegal pucca houses. The construction did not have permission from civic body or Nagpur Improvement Trust. The drive, planned on directives of Nagpur bench of Bombay high court, was stopped after the same court issued a stay.

“A dharna by residents, led by West Nagpur MLA Vikas Thakre, and a subsequent high court stay order procured by a couple of residents forced NMC to put the action on hold,” NMC enforcement inspector Sanjay Kamble told media. “Now, we will initiate action after reviewing the court stay order,” he added. The anti-encroachment department demolished around 15 temporary structures in the locality, he said.

While hearing four petitions of residents, the Nagpur bench of Bombay HC on Tuesday granted a stay to demolition of their properties by the NMC. While issuing notices to the government and other respondents, the court had kept the issue for final disposal after eight weeks. “There shall be stay to the demolition of the properties in question,” the HC said.

According to sources the matter of illegal constructions of such a large number of pucca houses came to fore after the then municipal commissioner Tukaram Mundhe received a tip off. He was told about a completely illegal three-storey bungalow of alleged mastermind in honeytrap audio clip case Sahil Sayyed in Baghdadiya Colony near Baba Farid Nagar.

Following Mundhe’s directives the department had demolished Sayyed’s illegal bungalow constructed by encroaching on two 500 sq m plots. Sayyed tried to prevent NMC action and approached the high court, where he had cited the many other illegal properties in the localities in his neighbourhood.

It later surfaced that almost 134 constructions on the 288-plot layout spread across 16 acres belonging to Sataranjipura Badi Masjid Sanstha were unauthorized, with no permission obtained either from NMC or NIT. Later, the high court directed NMC to demolish all illegal properties within eight weeks.

Sources said several complaints had been filed with Mangalwari zone about illegal constructions in the locality. The zone officials stayed mum for almost 48 days after the HC order to demolish all illegal constructions. With just eight days left to implement the order, the enforcement team of Mangalwari zone led by assistant municipal commissioner Harish Raut went to demolish the structures on Tuesday. In the past too, despite having all information, the zone had done nothing, sources alleged.