PUNE: A large number of illegal constructions, partly attributed to inadequate police and civic vigilance, is one of the prime reasons for poor tenant police verification in the Kondhwa area.
Tenant verification is crucial for keeping a tab on anti-social elements and has assumed significance in view of the recent arrests in the Pune ISIS module case in Kondhwa.
According to police, the arrested members were staying in a rented flat at Meethanagar in Kondhwa for 18 months. It was only after their arrests that the authorities realized about their landlord’s failure to get the tenants verified by the local police.
Imtiyaz Sayyed, a property broker from NIBM Road, said, “Most property owners in illegal constructions are reluctant to go for tenant verification with police fearing action by the civic body and the income tax department. Such property owners also avoid executing leave and licence agreements. Instead, they take an undertaking from the tenants on a stamp paper of Rs 500 denomination to the effect that the property is being rented or leased for a specific period.”
He said the police were creating awareness and appealing to the housing societies to share information on tenants for verification. “The police have also warned that failure to get tenant verification done could attract action under Section 188 (disobedience) of the Indian Penal Code,” the property broker said.
Former corporator Gaffur Pathan said, “There are around 3,000 illegal properties in the area. Nearly 80% of the people residing in the interiors of Kondhwa are tenants. Illegal constructions are mushrooming because the PMC is not vigilant. The illegal buildings do not have names or name plates and flat numbers.”
Pathan said Kondhwa came under the lens of the investigative agencies, following a series of arrests of terror suspects over the last decade. “Business has taken a back seat here. Many residents have shifted out or are in the process,” he said.
“People from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Jharkhand and Assam, besides foreign nationals, have taken shelter here because they feel that the place is safe and affordable,” Pathan said.
Activist Tanaji Lonkar said landowners and small-time builders undertake constructions under joint venture schemes. For instance, if 10 flats are constructed, the property owners takes possession of five, while the rest are sold by the builder, he said.
Lonkar said, “If the PMC tries to take action against illegal properties, its occupants take defense that the property was built or developed under the gunthewari scheme. Anti-social elements have shifted here because of poor police presence. Police should build a strong network of informers here. They should also build police chowkeys in Meethanagar and Bhagyodayanagar to instill confidence in people.”
Assistant commissioner of police (retd) Milind Gaikwad told TOI, “Kondhwa is spread across 32sqkm with over 10 lakh population. Police find it difficult to conduct searches here because the properties have no names. PMC and police have no control on outsiders seeking shelter here.”
Gaikwad said the situation would improve if the police station has a dedicated staff to reach out to the population, including the migrants.
Senior inspector Santosh Sonawane of the Kondhwa police said, “Around 500 property owners have shared information on tenants after an awareness drive was launched on July 20. We will take action against people not sharing the information of their tenants.”
Published On Aug 20, 2023 at 11:00 AM IST
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