Unabated unauthorised constructions –A threat to Environment – A source of corruption also-Deterrent actions required.
Unauthorised constructions go unabated as there is no pre-emptive pressures and when it comes to open the “affected” offenders use all means to stop demolitions. Ultimately financial expediency and populist pressures lead the Government to resort to regularize in regular intervals. Unauthorised constructions are seen as building violations whereas the same should be seen as ANTI-Environmental and ANTI-URBAN PLANNING. Unauthorised constructions eat into the open space in land and atmosphere in an unplanned manner.
Unauthorised constructions are one of the biggest source of corruption also and hence it should be dealt with deft hand.
As on date select actions are going on both at judicial level and administrative level only if the issues come out due to bad luck of happy offenders. Instead Government should fully map the brick and mortar structures of the cities/towns/villages classifying authorised and unauthorised parts of a building and also develop pre-emptive pressures.
Due to unauthorized constructions Easement rights of light and ventilation are lost by neighbours as planned free place as setback provides better light and air to all. So a person indulging in unauthorised constructions is usurping the space of his neighbours. This is a trespass into others right on atomosphere but the same gets regularised due to apathy or inabilities of system without bothering for affected neighbours. So while regularising unauthorised constructions due to political compulsions the Government curtails the rights of innocents.
Sometimes well grown trees are being cut without conscience though we talk about greening of cities.
If there is no free space, there is no parking space and parking goes to public roads/spaces. So unauthorised building owners usurp into the public property. Generally misuse of parking space in multi-storied hospitals and commercial buildings do not come to light and public property is usurped with immunity affecting movement of traffic also.
Unauthorised constructions increase demand for water and electricity and strains sewerage system and they become unplanned strain on such public utility services. The first causality is electricity supply. Disturbances in Sewerage System add to health problems also.
In the above context I give following suggestions:
1.a)Unauthorised constructions are treated as civil case but should considered as criminal case as it interferes with others' easement rights, ENVIRONMENT, public utility services and law must be amended to make it non-bailable. Granting of bail should be made possible only if demolition is undertaken. The demotion should be without affecting rights to person and property of others or else suitable compensation to affected neighbours should be given. Fear of criminal action will act as deterrent for unauthorised constructions.
1.b)Generally unauthorised constructions involve corruption and hence bribery should be presumed (as consideration is presumed under Negotiable Instruments Act for negotiable instruments like Cheques) and persons indulging in unauthorised constructions should be fixed as bribe givers under existing criminal law.
2. The Government should be vested with right of taking over the property without compensation in case of gross violations or with only compensation for land. Fear of losing the property will act as deterrent for unauthorised constructions.
3. Until demolition or correction or take over by the Government stiff one time penalty of double the cost of extended size of area(cost shall mean not merely cost of construction but actual cost of buying such built up area) and yearly penalty of rental value of the building shall be levied. Without recurring penalty there is no strong deterrent.
4. For pre-emptive informations, the Government personnel who regularly visit areas should be involved, viz., police personnel as they go round on beats, health(conservancy and garbage clearing) workers, electricity board employees, postal department personnel etc.(They can be given incentive for giving information on unauthorised constructions and deterrent action if they fail to inform).
5. Others not in service also can be involved with incentives and assurance of confidentiality. Dedicated tele-links or mobile links with auto recording for informations may be developed.
6. Construction material suppliers may be involved in the process with carrot and stick policy of cancellation of business licence and tax incentives. For qualified architects and engineers it should be made professional misconduct punishable by professional bodies as well as under criminal law.
7. Establishment rules for Government Servants should be suitably strengthened to deter them from indulging in unauthorised constructions in their own houses.
Sir, a concrete step to stop intention towards unauthorised constructions will go long way to solve the Environmental issues and strain on public utility services. Stop unauthorised constructions and save Environment and Urban life. Will it come?