Bhayandar: Years after sitting and staring at illegal structures being added to an approved high-rise in Bhayandar, the civic administration finally mustered courage to register a FIR under sections of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act at the Navghar police station against an influential developer, who is notorious for unauthorised constructions.

Due to the routine “notice-hearing-stay” game being played between the local ward office and the developer since 2016, the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC), apart from conducting cosmetic demolitions on the ground floor, has now expressed its inability to raze other illegalities as they were already occupied. While MBMC has always been in the news, mostly for wrong reasons, the appointment of IAS officer CK Dange as civic chief has emerged as a ray of hope in stemming the rot in the system.

Dange has listed weeding out illegalities and filing caveats in courts to avoid any status quo orders that will restrain demolitions as one of his priorities. Sans caveats and proper representation by MBMC, the lower courts have been liberal in granting injunctions in cases where demolition notices have been issued. Moreover, despite the status quo orders, owners continue with the illegal activities as ward officers often play blind. In case of a caveat, courts have to call upon MBMC to present its case before passing a stay.

Alarmed over the rising number of cases related to unauthorised structures before the lower courts in Mumbai, the high court had recently directed that cases where a stay has been granted without hearing the administration’s plea, should be disposed off at the earliest. Notably, hundreds of illegal structures in the twin-city are armed with stay orders, thus refraining MBMC from carrying out demolitions.

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