39 shops in Nagpur’s Empress Mall have been declared unauthorized and unsafe by the Nagpur Municipal Corporation. KLS and Industries Limited have been told by the civic body to shut the shops in question. But since the order had not been complied with, NMC has given directives to water works department and MSEDCL/SNDL to cut the power and water supply in the concerned shops immediately.
On 28th February, a team of the town planning department and the Dhantoli zone fire and emergency services department conducted an inspection at the mall. The NMC Dhantoli zone, on Monday, 5th March declared a few parts of the mall including the basement and parts of the ground plus floors as unauthorized and unsafe. A notice has been issued to KSL under section 53 of Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning (MRTP) Act. the authorities have also asked to stop using these parts and eventually demolish the structures in question.
Another notice was issued to KSL by the fire department on the 6th of March under section 8(1) of the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Act. according to the notice, these parts are unsafe and directives have been issued to vacate the unsafe structures given the lack of fire prevention and safety systems.
Advocates Vivek Bharadwaj and Aniruddha Deo, who represent the petitioners Chandu Lade and others in the PIL, have submitted copies of the notices issued, for a hearing at the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High court.
NMC departments have noticed and pointed out several violations in the mall since 2013.
“All these unauthorized constructions cropped up in these parts of the mall after issuance of part occupancy certificate dated January 20, 2011. Total unauthorized construction is 1,58,105.07 sq ft (14,693.78 sq m),” NMC informed.
The civic authority has earlier pointed out illegal and unauthorized construction in the mall as well as other parts of the Empress City township, residential towers excluded. The unauthorized construction has now gone up to 6,29,352.28 sq ft, which is equal to almost 630 residential flats measuring 1,000 sq ft each.
Earlier too, PILs have been filed regarding this issue, but the High Court has put a stay on their hearing for the past year and a half.
Gaurav Tayal, one of the directors at KSL, while talking to TOI indicated that it was not appropriate on NMC’s part, given the fact that the hearing of the PIL filed earlier was still pending at the High Court.
“We also filed an objection against the fire department’s latest notice with director of Maharashtra Fire Services. Our aim is to give the best to the city. We are regularizing all unauthorized constructions. Various applications, including revised layout plan, are under consideration in NMC,” he said.
Anil Sole said that the latest notices issued by NMC go on to prove the negligence of the officials regarding taking some firm action against Empress Mall.
“CM Devendra Fadnavis had ordered an inquiry into negligence of NMC. The civic body should regularize whatever is compoundable and demolish remaining structures immediately. Open spaces should be taken over as per the agreement and basic amenities should be ensured. Necessary action should be taken against KSL,” he said.
Cover image source: tripadvisor
Information source: TOI