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‘Plan’ to regularize illegal structures a pipe dream?

Nagpur/Mumbai: With elections in more than 20 civic bodies just around the corner, the state government is all out to showcase its “big heart”.

To this end, during a session in the recently concluded Winter Session of the state Assembly, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was quick to give the green signal to regularize unauthorized constructions under the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), as well as in Pune and Gadchiroli.

Maharashtra’s Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue, Registration and Stamp Duty, Forests), Dr Nitin Kareer however, feels that regularization of unauthorized structures, while okay, does not address the real problem.

“You can only regularize what is otherwise admissible in law. That is the big difference between regularizable and non-regularizable. For instance, you cannot regularize something that may not have existed in the first place,” he told First India.

He adds, “Corporations will get some money to regularize these structures provided, they don’t waive off all penalties as there is a stipulated fee structure mandated for the same such as ‘side margins’. Similarly, if some structures have built over the permissible number of units, they may have to purchase extra FSI on premium at market rates to legalize their projects.”

However, and ironically, there is still a major legal hurdle, given that justice Abhay S Oka of the Bombay High Court expressed reservations about regularizing unauthorized constructions in the same Pimpri-Chinchwad region less than five years ago.

“This is not the message we can afford to send,” Justice Oka had pronounced about regularizing the roughly 80,000 unauthorized structures of the Pimpri-Chinchwad region at the time.

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