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Illegal construction at Haji Ali angers Maharashtra CIC

Monday, 18 August 2014 - 5:55am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

The state information commission has ordered an inquiry on BMC officers for not providing information on an alleged illegal construction behind Haji Ali Juice Center. The directive was given in an order passed on August 5 by the state chief information commissioner (CIC), Ratnakar Gaikwad, on an application by Chetan Kothari.

What was the illegal construction?

Kothari, in his application, sought details about the alleged illegal constructions and Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) violations in the upcoming construction behind Haji Ali Juice Center. The information was sought from the G-south (Haji Ali, Worli) ward. Kothari wanted to know the permissions sought before the alleged illegal construction were made.

What had happened?

The public information officer (PIO) provided misguiding information to the applicant, as per the order. The order goes on to pull up the PIO, by stating that the information sought was of public interest and should have been given. Issuing show cause notice to all the concerned officials, the commission asked why no fine should be imposed on them.

The blame game

The order pulls up officials for turning a blind eye when unauthorised construction was taking place in a big way into the shore. It also states that instead of taking action on it, the officers were passing the buck claiming that the land belongs to the collector. In the order, the commission states that there is a "blatant violation" of CRZ.

The law says

As per Government Servants Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act (Act 21 of 2006), more commonly known as Right to Services Act, the officials should have acted promptly, instead of delaying on the details.

When dna contacted Sitaram Kunte, municipal commissioner, he was unavailable for comment.

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