Thriving encroachments may thwart NMC’s ‘Orange City Street’ project

Nagpur: The Nagpur Municipal Corporation has been known for its ‘penchant’ for announcing one or another ‘ambitious project’ with every passing day. That many of such announced projects remained on papers only is a different tale.

In its General Body Meeting held on October 16, the civic body approved the ambitious commercial-cum-residential Orange City Street Project, also known as London Street Project, on BOT basis. When the members sought to inspect the project report prepared by NMC’s Project Department Chief Borkar, the demand was flatly rejected. Borkar said that no such project report has been prepared at all. To another demand, Borkar informed the members that the Municipal Commissioner has not permitted him to show any document concerning the project to anybody and added that the original documents of the project are in possession of Estate Department. And when the Estate Department was contacted, it said that all the necessary information is with Project Department itself. The Estate Department has only the copy of original map and documents regarding transfer of land by the District Collector.

The proposed Orange City Street Project is spread over 31.15 hectare in a prime location situated in 5.50 km long area on both sides of the well developed stretch from Wardha Road-Somalwada-Khamla-Bhamti-Parsodi-Takli-Jaitala T-Point.

A round of the ‘Orange City Street’ project from Jaitala to Hingna T-Point revealed that it would be a herculean task for Nagpur Municipal Corporation to turn the ‘dream project’ into reality. The bitter truth is that the area is dotted with illegal constructions and encroachments of all kinds. The encroachers include kabadi (scrap) shops, dairies, bus-van-truck parking, garages, refugees and their cattle heads, religious places, Aapli Bus Depot and others.

Notably, Nagpur Today recently reported about at least 15 works carried out ‘illegally’ in the land reserved for the Orange City Street project. The works include construction of temporary and permanent roads under the pressure of local leaders. This dubious act has now not only reduced the ‘Orange City Street’ land into pieces but also left it reduced.

There are provisions in the Maharashtra Municipal Corporations Act to demolish an unauthorized structure within 24 hours of issuing notice, but few officers proceed this far. Sometimes, the officers undertake symbolic demolition by removing a few bricks so that they can record action on paper just in case of an inquiry. Unauthorized constructions are the biggest means of moneymaking for civic officers, followed by unauthorized hawking. Moreover, although civic officials act against relatively small unauthorized constructions, they generally ignore bigger ones by influential persons.