It is a matter of public knowledge that the land mafia is very active in the capital and in most cases of illegal plotting, the MDDA and the district authorities including the revenue officers continue to ignore the development amid the allegations of often colluding with the builders. Some action, from time to time is taken in token form only. In several cases, where the illegal plotting is demolished, after a gap of time, the plotting is clandestinely permitted to resume. This is the primary reason, why even many newly development residential colonies have narrow roads in violation of the urban bylaws and even on narrow roads, multi-storey housing societies are allowed to be constructed. Not only this, illegal construction can also be seen over most nullahs and ravines which are under control of Nagar Nigam which also has to take a fair share of blame for the illegal construction.
By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 23 Jul: Mussoorie Dehra Development Authority (MDDA) today appeared to have woken up from its deep slumber, amid a warning of an agitation by the public, to act against illegal levelling of land on Canal Road. As the issue heated up, 4 officials were later in the day suspended.
It was reported that some property dealers had begun some days ago, to erase a hill at Canal Road here and begun levelling the land. Though the matter had been reported to MDDA some days ago which had served a notice to the land owners in this respect, the action was taken today only. In between, the land owners had continued to erase the hillock and level the land on Canal Road. However, as the issue became a major one and became a matter of public knowledge, the MDDA was forced to wake up from deep slumber to stop the action and later even suspend the officials. A team of Mining Department has also started investigation on the spot.
It was reported that the hillock they were cutting was about 50 metre high and in order to level it, some JCBs, bulldozers and other machines had been engaged. This plot is reportedly on the back side of Rajpur Road which is 50 metres higher than the Canal Road. The builders probably wanted to bring down the level of the land to the level of Canal Road. When the complaint was filed earlier, the administration had merely panelised the builders for illegal mining but no further action was taken and in fact, the builders managed thereafter to erase the entire hillock. The administration, the MDDA and the mining department continued to ignore the development. However, as the issue heated up and it became too hot for the authorities to ignore, since there were warnings of a stir, the MDDA team went to the site to stop the work being carried out by the builders, and also a team of mining officials arrived and started its investigation. The builders named in the complaints included Manjit Johar, Raj Loomba and Anil Kumar Gupta, son of Shyam Lal Gupta. This land is reported to be 14,175 square metre in area.
In view of the illegal land development and plotting being done by the builders show cause notice , under the relevant sections-27 and 28 of the Uttarakhand Town Planning and Development Act, 1973, had been served against the builders on 19 July.
Since the issue became a public issue with people threatening to launch an agitation, the Vice Chairman of MDDA Brijesh Kumar Sant, District Magistrate Dehradun Sonika, Secretary MDDA MS Barnia and Director Mining, Patrick had to initiate action. A meeting of the above officers was held today. Four officials namely, Mining Officer Virendra Singh, Geologist Anil Kumar and two MDDA Supervisors Pyare Lan and Mahavir Singh were suspended with immediate effect though surprisingly, no engineer of MDDA was suspended. In addition, some other decisions were also taken and included demolition of illegal development work done at the site. Mining Officer Virendra Singh has been suspended with immediate effect. Geologist Anil Kumar was also suspended for giving permission for hill cutting by presenting wrong facts.
Two supervisors of the authority, Pyare Lal and Mahavir Singh, were also suspended with immediate effect for not giving timely information about the said case. In future, it was also decided not to allow any kind of development work at places of such nature where mountains are to be cut.
In the matter of leveling the mountain on the canal road, today the administration has started the demolition action on the spot. The team of Mining Department has also started investigation on the spot.