Unauthorised constructions: Government proposes in Supreme Court to set up task force
The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court it has proposed to set up a special task force (STF) to oversee the enforcement and implementation of laws to deal with unauthorised construction and encroachment in Delhi after consulting all stakeholders.
The government told a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta that during two meetings held on April 4 and today, it has been suggested by the authorities that “unauthorised occupation” and encroachment on public streets, pavements, footpaths, pedestrian streets and roads should be removed forthwith.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) A N S Nadkarni, appearing for the Centre, handed over a note to the bench in which the government has given the details of meetings and issues deliberated upon.
He said the STF would be chaired by the vice-chairman of Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and consist of commissioners of the three municipal corporation of Delhi (MCDs), chairperson of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and the CEO of Delhi Jal Board (DJB).
The other members of STF would be commissioner or secretary of transport, secretary of urban development and secretary of revenue department of the Delhi government, special commissioner (law and order), special commissioner (traffic) of Delhi Police, chief fire officer of Delhi and commissioner (planning) of the DDA.
However, the bench told Nadkarni that there should be one official from the office of Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor in the STF.
The ASG said that STF would identify encroachments on government land, suggest the course of action to the Centre with regard to unauthorised colonies in Delhi and oversee effective and proper enforcement of applicable laws by local bodies particularly about violation and unauthorised constructions.
He said the task force would monitor the action taken by local bodies with respect to violations and identify the areas of congestion of traffic, suggest measures to deal with it, ensure that traffic management strategies are devised and implemented, besides overseeing compliance of the fire safety norms.
The STF would take immediate action regarding removal or demolition of encroachment and unauthorised constructions on public roads, streets, footpaths, pavements, parks or public space and act against erring officials in any local body, he said.
The Centre also said that the STF would “direct the local bodies to provide its field staff with GPS-enabled cameras to take photographs and videos of violations and to take them as evidence for action against such violation”.
“Direct the local bodies to obtain GPS co-ordinates of different localities showing the extent of constructed area so that any fresh construction which is taking place may be checked to ensure whether the same is in accordance with law,” it said.
It said the task force would meet at least once a month and give its report to the LG’s office and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
Nadkarni said that in the Master Plan of Delhi (MPD) 2021, no new street would be declared as commercial unless parking space was shown first.
“Indeed, the large scale of construction of building beyond permissible FAR (floor area ratio), misuse of public land etc and other similar violation have to be stopped forthwith and a complete no tolerance to these illegal activities has to be shown,” he said in the note. FAR is the ratio of a building’s total floor area (gross floor area) to the size of the piece of land on which it is built.
It said that DDA has carried out a comprehensive review of the MPD-2021 with a view to remove the anomalies and to ensure that they do not result in reduction in public spaces, misuse of land and absence of civic amenities.
It said that anomalies regarding admissibility of FAR were proposed to be removed and modifications in MPD-2021 was proposed to ensure least disruption, dislocation and disturbance to the life and livelihood of affected people besides making and an endeavour to align developmental norms with environmental concerns.
It said shop-cum-residence complexes were proposed to continue activities permissible in local shopping centre subject to payment of conversion charge from residential to commercial.
The government said that amendments proposed in MPD-2021 would be considered for approval and notification after the apex court would vacate its stay order.
It said that a time-bound window of six months would be provided to the people for regularisation and thereafter, if the violators have not complied with the regulations, strict punitive action would be initiated.