LUDHIANA: With the issue of illegal colonies hogging limelight following opposition’s attack during the MC general house meeting recently, officials of the building branch have submitted a list of 55 illegal colonies under zone C. List of such colonies in four other zones is yet to be released.

Notably, despite recommendation of registration of FIRs, no action has been taken so far against the developers of these colonies under the Punjab Apartment and Property Regulation Act (PAPRA).

In the list, around 20 colonies, set up in around 95 acres, are under vigilance radar as there are allegations against an MC building inspector of illegally helping the developers. Under the regularization policy of 2018 too, not many developers had come forward to get themselves registered. And out of those, very less colonies were declared regularized.

The matter of illegal colonies had been raised by RTI activist Kuldeep Khaira who had even lodged a complaint with MC commissioner Pardeep Sabharwal claiming that colonies had been coming up in different areas across the city, and officials had failed to take action against the same. Afterwards, a survey of such colonies was marked and officials were told to come out with a report and certify that they would be held responsible if any other colony is found after submitting the list. Officials took almost 6 months to submit the list that too only for just one zone.

Khaira said the officials are very well aware of the illegal colonies in their areas, but are not taking action intentionally. He said, “I gathered the information under the RTI Act from the police. I had also sought information about FIRs against developers since 2018. Surprisingly, action was taken just against eight developers that too by Greater Ludhiana Area Development Authority and not by the MC.” He said the officials though recommend FIRs, they never bother to follow up the matter. And despite their letters to the revenue department, the registration of properties continue in the illegal colonies.

Municipal town planner S S Bindra said a regular drive is being carried out against illegal colonies and those which are coming up now will be removed immediately. Asked about FIRs, he said the ATPs concerned are there to follow up the matter with police.

No action in the past as well

After a survey, the civic officials had traced around 150-200 illegal colonies in MC limits in 2019. But despite serving notices to the developers, nobody came forward to apply under the regularization policy. The then MC Commissioner K P Brar had also asked the officials to go ahead with FIR against such developers. The MC had recommended police action against 78 developers in 2018 too, but no FIR was not registered against any of them.

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