D’sala MC stripped of powers to regulate constructions

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Shimla June 15: The office of the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Dharamsala, has been stripped of powers to deal with illegal structures. MC Commissioner Lalit Jain had recently ordered disconnection of power to many leading hotels in McLeodganj for raising illegal buildings or trapping trees in the buildings.

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The commissioner had done so as per the directives of the Himachal High Court. The move had created panic among the people raising illegal constructions.However, the Commissioner has now been stripped of the powers vis-à-vis illegal constructions. In a letter received in Dharamsala Corporation it has been stated that all matters related to illegal structures and passing for building maps would now be dealt by the Town and Country Planning (TCP) Department.

Sources here said that the Municipal Corporation authorities have already started transferring cases of illegal buildings and building laws violations to the TCP Department.A senior official of the Dharamsala Municipal Corporation, while speaking on the condition of anonymity, said now the local body hardly has any power. The roads are being manned by PWD and the water supply was being managed by the Irrigation and Public Health (IPH) Department.

The regulation of constructions was the only main power with the corporation. Ideally since corporation was a local self government the Town and Country Planning Department should just assist it regulating the constructions in the urban area. However, in case of Dharamsala the corporation has been stripped of all its powers to regulate constructions. Now the only main task left with the corporation was maintaining sanitation in the urban area for which it hardly has any staff, the corporation officials said.

Interestingly, the corporation officials had to file status report regarding the action taken in tree felling case in a PIL going on in the matter in Himachal High Court. The corporation officials said that now the TCP Department would have to file status report before the High Court as they have been stripped of their powers.

“We are going to file the status before the court that their powers to regulate had been transferred to Town and Country Planning department by the government”, they said.The move of the government to strip the corporation of its powers to regulate the illegal structures has drawn flak from the Opposition. Former minister and senior BJP leader Kishan Kapoor asked the logic behind making Dharamsala a corporation if the elected body has no powers to regulate constructions.

He alleged that the move has been initiated to save a few politically influential people who have raised illegal structures in the past few years.He further alleged that a few Congressmen had raised illegal structures on government land but no action was being taken against them. The TCP Department was already short of staff and burdening it with all the work of regulating the structures in corporation area would only aid violations.

Source Tribune India

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