New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday halted all construction, not in confirmity with building bye laws, in 1,797 unauthorised colonies in the national capital.
A bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta also asked the Central government to set up a Special Task Force for removing encroachments on public land and roads in Delhi.
The STF, formed by the Central government to monitor issues relating to unauthorised constructions in Delhi, will also take steps to demolish them.
The bench also refused to vacate its stay on proposed amendments to the city's masterplan, rejecting the Delhi Development Authority's appeal.
"On the one hand, you have authorised colonies which follow rules and by-laws. On the other hand, you have unauthorised colonies which are not following rules and by-laws... Unauthorised colonies can't be placed in a better position than authorised colonies.
"We direct that construction should stop in unauthorised colonies till they follow by-laws," the bench said
The bench also questioned the authorities' intent in regularising unauthorised colonies, and said: "By regularising them you will say that whatever illegal they have done, will be regularised. You cannot have an area where there is no rule of law. Here, there are over 1,700 colonies".
The order came after taking into account the submissions of senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, who was assisting the court as amicus curiae, that by-laws do not apply to the illegal colonies and the construction was rampant there.
Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh, appearing for the DDA, told the bench that building by-laws would be implemented in these colonies before they are regularised.
"The regularisation will be done as per the laws and building by-laws. Certificates, like fire, have to be obtained for regularisation of the existing buildings," he said.
The court also sought details and figures from Central Ground Water Board on the status of groundwater level in Delhi since 2000 onwards.
The Central government on April 9 had told the apex court that it has proposed to set up an STF to monitor issues relating to unauthorised constructions in Delhi and will take steps to demolish them.
The STF, to be chaired by the Vice Chairman of the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and having representative from the office of Delhi's Lt Governor, the three civic bodies as well as the the New Delhi Municipal Council, the Delhi Jal Board, Delhi Police, Traffic Department, and Delhi's Transport, Revenue and Fire departments, will identify encroachments on the government land in Delhi and reclaim it.
It would also identify areas of congestion of traffic in Delhi and suggest measures to remedy the same to local bodies and other agencies.
The court was hearing pleas relating to the validity of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006 and subsequent legislation protecting unauthorised construction from being sealed in Delhi.
Bhubaneswar, April 24 (IANS) Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Tuesday requested Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu to set up an airport in Odisha's industrial town Paradip.
In a letter, Pradhan sought the personal attention of Prabhu to examine the techno-economic feasibility for setting an airport at Paradip as soon as possible.
"The grand vision of development of Paradip would remain incomplete without an airport providing air connectivity, as the nearest Biju Patnaik International Airport at Bhubaneswar is 135 kms away and takes more than three hours by road," he said , adding that the Paradip Port Trust has already requested the Airport Authority of India to set up an airport there.
Paradip is one of the major ports in eastern India and last year became one of the three ports in India to have handled a total cargo of over 100 million tons.
The port is being further expanded and modernized and it is expected that by 2020 it would be able to handle 332 million tons of cargo per annum thereby making it the largest port in India, said Pradhan.
He said the Union government has declared Paradip Port as a Smart Port Industrial City, which is fast emerging as a major industrial hub in Odisha and Eastern India.
Besides having the port, Paradip already has an oil refinery of 15 MMTPA capacity, a 12 MMTPA pellet plant, two fertilizer plants together of 4 MMTPA capacity and a edible oil refinery, he said.
In addition, Pradhan said that his Ministry is implementing several big ticket industrial projects, including expansion of refinery to 21 MMTPA from 15 MMTPA, a 700 TMT Poly Propylene plant by 2018 and a 355 TMT Mono Ethyl Glycol unit by 2023-24 which will feed various downstream industries including plastics, paints, rubber and synthetic yarn industries, and all these initiatives "require seamless connectivity".