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PMC demolishes 15 illegal properties on DP road following Bombay High Court decision

Synopsis

The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has begun demolishing 15 illegal properties along DP Road, from Mhatre Bridge to Karvenagar, in compliance with a recent Bombay High Court ruling. The court denied interim relief to property owners who had reconstructed structures despite previous demolitions. The properties, including marriage halls and eateries, were demolished to uphold environmental standards. PMC officials, noting past legal challenges, underscored their commitment to executing court orders and preserving the green belt area. This action marks a continuation of efforts to curb unauthorised constructions and maintain ecological balance in the city.

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The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has commenced a demolition drive to clear illegal structures along the green belt on DP Road between Mhatre Bridge and Karvenagar. This action follows a recent Bombay High Court decision refusing to halt the demolitions.

The high court ruling came after property owners and operators, who had previously moved to court to stop demolition efforts, sought interim relief. The court denied their requests, citing that many petitioners had rebuilt illegal structures despite prior demolitions. The bench, consisting of Justice M.S. Sonak and Justice Kamal Khata, stated that "no such extension can be granted" due to the petitioners' actions of reconstructing structures in defiance of the law.

Last week, the PMC successfully demolished 15 properties, including tin sheds and concrete structures, covering 90,000 square feet. These properties included marriage halls, eateries, and other commercial establishments.

An executive engineer in the PMC's building permission department, explained that the PMC had previously attempted to take action in these areas. However, legal battles had prevented them from targeting some establishments during earlier drives. He added that the high court's recent ruling had enabled the latest demolitions.

A PMC official highlighted that the High Court and other legal authorities have consistently issued orders to remove encroachments along the green belt on DP Road. Responding to these directives, the PMC has carried out multiple demolition drives over the years.

In 2017, the PMC launched a special drive to clear unauthorised constructions within the flood-line of the Mutha River. This action was mandated by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which also imposed heavy fines on marriage halls and lawns for illegal dumping in the blue flood-line area between Mhatre and Rajaram bridges.

Further action took place in 2022 and 2023 at a popular dining hub in the same location. During these operations, the PMC demolished 4 lakh square feet of illegal constructions in one day in 2022, and an additional 1 lakh square feet in 2023. To preempt any legal challenges, the PMC filed caveats in district and high courts.

These demolition efforts targeted kitchens, lawns, and marriage halls that had encroached on public land. The area, known for its restaurants and cafes, draws large crowds, especially on weekends and during the marriage season. It also hosts various events, including exhibitions, music concerts, and cultural activities.

Local residents and social activists have been actively involved in legal battles to protect the green belt. A cooperative housing society on the 100-ft DP Road between Mhatre and Rajaram bridges filed a petition with the NGT. They accused the marriage halls and lawns of environmental degradation and pollution, claiming these establishments had encroached on the designated green belt within the blue flood-line along the Mutha riverbed.

Despite ongoing legal battles and community opposition, the PMC is determined to enforce court orders and address environmental concerns raised by the community. The green belt area remains a focal point of efforts to curb unauthorised construction and maintain ecological balance.

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