Pune: Cantonment residents are in serious trouble as they are living amidst 244 illegal buildings, which could be demolished. The PCB in an RTI query has acknowledged that there are 244 unauthorised building constructions in the area. The illegal structures have sprung up all over the cantonment area during past three decades.
Meanwhile, the PCB has served eviction and demolition notices to the buildings but have not gone any further. As regards to the notices, the Holders of Rights (HOR)'s / occupiers have filed appeals before the board while some of them have filed court cases for restraining demolition action.
According to the cantonment board records, the unauthorised buildings are located on MG Road, Boottee Street, Sholapur Bazar, VP Street, Elphinstone road, Bhimpura, Synagogue Street, K B Hidayatullah Road, New Modikhana, Jan Mohd Street, Rajendrasinghji road, Ghorpadi, Sachapir Street, Gaffarbeg Street and Convent Street.
According to social worker Netraprakash Bhog, who has taken up cudgels against the PCB for its inept handling of the issue said that PCB area had become a haven of unauthorised construction.He explained that the board has been regularly issuing notices to the owners of the unauthorised constructions under Section 185/187 of the Cantonment act 1924. At the same time , the ownrs have been taking steps to prevent the demolition of their unauthorised constructions by appealing under section 274 of the act and as a result there have been several pending cases before the court.
Bhog further added that the PCB lacked a strong will to crack down on the unauthorised structures. "Till date not even a single building has been demolished by the PCB. The area is dotted with several illegal buildings which are a serious threat to the safety of cantonment residents. The army authorities should intervene in the matter and ensure that the law takes its due course in Pune Cantonment area," he added. Bhog demanded an inquiry against all members and administrative officials under whom blatant unauthorised constructions had taken pace in the area.
Cantonment executive engineer KV Shirodkar said that PCB cannot demolish the unauthorised structures in the absence of police protection and finds it difficult to remove the occupiers from the buildings. "The police say that the demolition work does not come under their jurisdiction. Besides, the occupiers don't leave their premises even after being served several notices. Some of the building owners have approached the court seeking regularisation while some have gone for an appeal," he added.