The circular says that complaints about unauthorised structures will be entertained only if the complainant is directly affected by the problem.
Mumbai: In a city where illegal constructions are considered a major nuisance, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has issued a circular that has put restrictions on the process of registering complaints against encroachments, stirring a controversy. The circular says that complaints about unauthorised structures will be entertained only if the complainant is directly affected by the problem.
The circular issued by the general administration department on April 16 says that cognisance will be taken of complaints against illegal constructions only if the complainants are directly connected with them.
“Ward officers and departmental heads will meet people every Monday and Friday from 3 pm to 5 pm to hear their grievances. However, complaints about illegal structures will be heard only on Mondays, whereas on Fridays complaints about other departments will be entertained.
The complaint on illegal constructions will be entertained on Public Grievances Day, only if the complainant is directly connected with it,” said the circular.
“If the complainant is not directly affected, he should be asked to register his complaint on the RETMS (Removal of Encroachment Tracking Management System), which is available on the municipal portal. Action will be initiated against it according to the legal provision.”
It has been observed that on Public Grievances Day, which is held every month , some complainants, who are not directly connected, file complaints about illegal structures in large numbers. Due to this, it becomes difficult to attend to the grievances of other complainants, who are affected by other problems. Most of the complaints registered are related to illegal structures. Hence people are deprived of registering their grievances about other departments, said the circular.
The circular has been issued to all assistant and deputy municipal commissioners (DMCs) as well as departmental heads with the instructions that it should be put on the front side of their offices.
However, civic activists have denounced the BMC’s move saying that the circular will act as a safeguard for illegal structures. “The circular is ridiculous. It will only benefit civic officials who are hand in glove with developers in protecting illegal structures. There is also a possibility of complainant’s identity getting disclosed, which may prove dangerous for him. As far as online complaints are concerned, there is little response from the BMC despite repeated rejoinders,” said civic activist Lalit Jain.
When asked, Sudhir Naik, DMC (GAD), said, “No comments.” Despite repeated attempts, civic chief Ajoy Mehta was unavailable for comment.