Kolar flat owners see red over Bhopal civic body’s ‘green’ eviction notice

January 13, 2024

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BHOPAL: Radheshyam Katare, Devendra Dubey and Ashok Khare are people, who had bought flats in Kolar in the hope to live a peaceful retired life. But these senior citizens are now running from pillar to post after the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) slapped them with eviction notice in the month of December in the light of National Green Tribunal (NGT) order to remove encroachments in the area of 33 metres on both sides of Kaliasot river.

“We are not encroachers. We are buyers. We bought these flats after assuring ourselves of the land title, BMC permission, T & CP permission and everything one looks for before buying a property. The builders had everything. Besides, all the banks were approving loans for purchase of flats. We have been paying property tax, water cess and electricity bills for years and now we are being told that we have encroached upon the land and our flats will be demolished if we don’t remove it ourselves,” said residents of an apartment, which, perhaps, has the maximum number of affected people in the area.

All the affected residents that TOI could talk to are retired government employees and they said that 80% of the 72 flat owners of this apartment given notice by the BMC are retired government employees and overwhelming majority of them live alone or with their spouses as their children are based elsewhere for jobs and it makes it all the more difficult for them to go here and there to find out what could be done to deal with the unforeseen situation that they are confronted to.

Radheshyam Katare, who is one of the persons to have received the notice, is treasurer of the residents’ welfare association of the apartments. He said “The NGT order was passed in 2014 and construction of the apartment was stopped in 2015 in the light of the NGT order but in 2016, the ban was lifted and the construction resumed. Only 6 flats in the D block (there are 6 blocks in the apartment with 24 flats each) were declared in the prohibited zone and they were not constructed. We were asked to plant saplings in the area and you can see our apartment is perhaps the greenest of residential areas of Bhopal. BMC gave a written order in 2016 allowing construction of the apartment except for 6 flats in question, which were never sold. There was a survey then also and poles were put up to separate the green belt area (prohibited area) from the area where construction was allowed but there has been a new survey of late and they have given notices to 72 of the 12 flats in the apartments.”

Dr Subhash Pandey, who was petitioner in the case, when asked about chronology of the case, said “My petition was for conservation and beautification of the 36 Km Kaliasot river and in 2014, the NGT had passed the order asking to stop sewage water flowing into the river, removal of encroachments in the 33 metre area on both sides of the river and developing a green belt in the area vacated from encroachments. Since, the order was not being executed, I filed an execution petition before the NGT and in the hearing of the case, the principal secretary, urban administration, gave an affidavit before the tribunal that all the encroachments would be removed by December 31 and an action taken report would be presented before the NGT 2 weeks later. It’s in the light of the undertaking given before the tribunal that a fresh survey and subsequent action is being taken.He, however, admitted that giving eviction notice to residents was wrong and following NGT order in 2014, notices were given to builders and not the flat owner. “They had seen all the relevant papers and permissions. They were offered loans by the banks and the registry was duly done. Why should they get the notice?” he asked, adding that he would raise the issue before the tribunal.

Former additional advocate general Ajay Gupta, when asked whether giving notice to the flat owner, was legally correct as they had not done anything wrong, said “They would obviously be given a notice as they are the ones who occupy the property but they can go to high court and ask for a stay as the NGT order gives a decree for removal of encroachments but there is no order on the consequence of its order. There is no reference on how the residents who are evicted from their houses will be rehabilitated, the amount of compensation they should get from the builder and interest thereon, action on the BMC and T & CP officials, who wrongfully gave the permission etc”.

Rajesh Awasthi, who is president of the residents’ welfare association, when asked what action they are contemplating in the matter and whether they are moving court on the issue, said, “We had met the BMC commissioner a couple of days ago. He asked us to present our representation and relevant documents to a core committee formed under the chairmanship of T & CP director to look into the matter but we have not decided on going to court till now.”

  • Published On Jan 13, 2024 at 02:00 PM IST

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