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Building bye-laws serving only builders' interest: Panel to HC

NEW DELHI: An expert panel set up by the Delhi High Court has found that the building bye-laws and development plans of the national Capital have only furthered builders' interest and not that of the citizens' life.
The panel, set up to look into the menace of unauthorised construction, has also expressed concern over the authorities' failure in urban planning to provide for the population influx in the city.
In its report, the three-member expert panel stated that "population pressure have beaten us hollow and caught the policy makers short of ideas continuously".
It told a bench, headed by Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal, that there are "blatant safety and regulatory violations" in every colony of Delhi.
"Our systems and those entrusted to plan for the cities have failed to anticipate and provided for increasing numbers. Urban planning is only in furtherance of builders' interest and not a citizen's life," the report stated.
Comprised of former Central Bureau of Investigation director D R Karthikeyan, retired district judge Ravinder Kaur and former Director of India Habitat Centre R M S Liberhan, the committee also noted that the building structures show "lawlessness really rampant".
"Law enforcers appear to have given up on their duties as lane after lane and colony after colony shows blatant safety and regulatory violations," it said.
The panel observed that the Commissioner and Mayor should be held accountable for the failures on the part of the civic bodies.
The report also highlights that all the colonies have layout plans and they are supposed to be on the Municipal Corporation of Delhi's website.
However, many are missing, either because they are yet to be uploaded or are yet to be prepared.
"These deficits are not only handicaps but serious impairments of the corporations' capacity to enforce the law relating to building controls. To cap it all, not many functionaries were aware that these plans could be accessed from the MCD websites," they said.
"Illegal buildings are nothing short of appalling", the report stated, adding that some of the localities like Rajendra Nagar, Paharganj and Karol Bagh are "outstanding examples of man-made disasters and are seemingly beyond redemption".
Moreover, the report said that there are at least 2000 unauthorised colonies and inevitable manipulation for their regularisation.
"The review of bye-laws and development controls has to be concurrent and keep pace with the population influx into the city," the report noted.
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