Encroachment, a real challenge here

Growing menace

Encroachment seems to be a biggest problem that the city of Mysore is facing. For many years, the city had been insulated against this malady. But now this problem has grown beyond anybody’s imagination.

Recently, Deputy Commissioner Harsh Gupta who went on the city rounds, with a team of officials from the Mysore City Corporation and the Mysore Urban Development Authority, was shocked to see large scale encroachment of revenue land across the city. At one place, the area marked for footpath, was encroached upon by a commercial complex, to provide parking place for its customers. At another place, a house was constructed on a piece of land reserved for the public park.

Once, the authorities used to quote Mysore as the most systematically developed city as there were hardly any encroachments by the public. Now, Mysore has joined the list of cities, where the encroachment is going unabated thanks to ‘negligence’ of officials concerned. Instead of taking stern action against such illegal structures, they happily joined hands with a few elected representatives, who openly supported such activities only to ensure their vote bank.

No fear of law

The encroachments are not restricted to city areas alone as they are witnessed even in extension areas. The conservancy- meant for cleaning- situated between two rows of houses, is systematically encroached by few citizens. That place is used to put up the pillars for the extension of houses. Some have built one-room house without any fear of law.

The question here is why the MCC authorities are silent on the encroachments which are happening just under their nose. Zonal offices that are opened all over the city are supposed to maintain a vigil on any illegal constructions in their respective jurisdiction. Unfortunately, these offices have turned only tax collection centres.

The Bangalore City had a similar problem a few years ago. At that time, both the Bangalore Development Authority and the Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike undertook a major drive and removed all the encroachments.

But this was not happening in this city for the reasons best known to the officialdom. Whether they feared of elected representatives or not ready to take on the encroachers.

If the current situation allowed, one day the officials may not be able to touch those buildings. It’s not only the poor who have encroached upon even the well-off people are involved in this crime.

Official version

MCC commissioner, K S Raykar told City Herald that encroachments are not new as they have been there in the city for the last two to three decades. While some of them have encroached upon the revenue land; others have encroached MCC land. It was true that there were umpteen numbers of encroachments all over the city. Of course, there was no approach to identify or curb encroachments.

It needs a different mechanism by taking into account a lot of considerations. However, the process of examining them is on and the process of removing is lengthy as opposite party needs to be heard.

He cited example of an area which has been mentioned as a burial ground in the corporation records but as many as 600 houses are constructed. Upon checking, the residents showed the sale deed made by a seer long ago.

It was not possible to bulldoze all the houses just because they are ‘illegal’. There is also responsibility on the corporation to follow the guidelines as they are questioned in the court of law. On many occasions, the government has regularized houses if they belonged to poor people.

On the conservancy (lane) between two rows of houses in old areas of the city, Raykar said there is no mention regarding the lanes in the Act because of which the corporation has not been able to take any decision.

The government is coming out with a Land Policy which would address the problem of encroachment of the lane as this problem may be faced by other corporations too. Once the policy is ready, it would be handy for the MCC to chalk out its future course of action.

However, there was no question of sparing any encroachments for commercial purposes, he added.

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