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GHB men gobble up common land in staff colony Saturday, November 3, 2001
News Source : Times News Network
AHMEDABAD: Rules are for mules _ the aphorism best suits Gujarat Housing Board officials who have in many cases brazenly grabbed common plots in colonies built by the board.
Though the board admits encroachment as a menace plaguing its colonies and blames it on 'poor civic sense' of public at large, its own officials have blatantly violated board norms in more than one case.
Yash Kamal Society built by the board for its serving and retired officials in 1980 near Jivraj Mehta Hospital symbolises 'anarchy' in the system at its worst. The houses under MIG scheme had ample space inside the society for common purposes. But 20 years later it has become a perfect model of an urban housing plan gone awry.
Interior roads have shrunk from 30 metres to 13 metres making it difficult for an ambulance to pass through during an emergency. Private plots have grown in size by acquiring the space provided for common plots.
Even essential services have not been maintained for the past 12 years as electric cables, water supply lines and sewerage connection have been enveloped inside the compound walls. The state of affairs in the colony proves it beyond doubt that what GHB professes for the public, its officials even defy it.
"Law makers have become law breakers. By virtue of their position in the board most of the society members scuttle any action to remove encroachments," says a retired board official and a resident of the society.
Encroachment goes on unchecked in the society which houses senior officials _ from assistant housing commissioner to assistant estate manager.
The 'influential' residents wield their clout to sabotage any move to demolish encroachments in the society. Even a directive from Gujarat Vigilance Commission asking the board to institute an inquiry into the issue was gathering dust for nearly a decade.
"Ongoing construction in the society is according to building by-laws and there is no illegal action involved per se," says president of the society S V Shah adding that members were impressed upon to remove the compound walls encroaching common plot and roads.
Board allotted 68 MIG tenements to its officials through conveyance deeds executed between each staff member and GHB. The stipulated property conveyed was only the land within the four walls and the structure thereupon and not even the marginal.
Since the piece of land given to society by the board was a lease land and not a free-hold land as per condition 7 (1) C, it was meant for common services. All members were allowed to use the common plot and nobody has any right to grab the common plot and road land for personal use.
When contacted, estate manager-I, GHB S B Parmar in whose jurisdiction the society falls, said the board was incapable of taking any action as the ownership of the society has been transferred to the members. "Still, I will examine the problem myself and submit a report for action to my superiors," he added.
News Source : The Times of India [India's best Newspaper]