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Supreme Court gives relief to Digha residents asks state to bring fresh draft policy

Digha residents received some relief from the Supreme Court as the demolition drive will not be carried out till July 31. The court asked the state to bring fresh draft policy for Digha’s illegal structures. The state has sought interim relief from demolition till September 30.

After the Bombay High Court had rejected state’s plea for stay in the demolitions during monsoon and asked to vacate two illegal structures in Digha till Wednesday, the state approached the Apex court.

The Supreme Court has ordered the state government to prepare fresh draft policy for regularising illegal structures across the state. Residents of Digha expressed happiness after SC gave relief; however, they want permanent solution.

“We want permanent solution as we have not slept in peace in last ten months. Everyday, we wake up to save our home,” said a resident.

Another resident added, “What will happen after July 31 if the state government’s policy is not accepted by the SC.”

Earlier, the Bombay HC had shot down plea to give respite during monsoon from demolition drive and asked residents of two illegal housing societies of Digha to vacate their homes immediately. Last week, the court receiver appointed by the HC had asked the two housing societies — Pandurang and Kamlakar — to vacate their homes, which will be razed.

This led to widespread panic in the area with residents coming out on streets on Saturday evening demanding the state government to help them with regularising their structures. Later, they approached Bombay High court for some relief. However, the high court did not give any relief to them and asked to vacate their homes. Following which, the state government decided to approach Supreme Court.

Residents of the Digha illegal structures allege that their homes are not regularizes because they are from middle class. A member of Digha Ghar Bachao Samiti said that they are getting only assurance from state government.

“The state government had been assuring us from the past few months that it was coming out with a policy to regularise the buildings but nothing has happened and once again the court has ordered residents to vacate them right before monsoons, leaving us homeless. We had paid for the permissions for the construction at the time, but now we are being portrayed as illegal residents,” said the member.

Earlier, the Bombay HC had rejected Maharashtra government’s pleas to go ahead with the draft policy on regularisation of illegal structures in Maharashtra. The court had called the draft policy “arbitrary and faulty” and directed the state government not to go ahead with the policy without its permission.

The court observed that regularisation of illegal structures will be against the MRTP Act and gave state four weeks time to come out with other policy. In the draft policy, the state government has indicated to change in the Development Control Regulations (DCR), if required.

In the last hearing, the court came down heavily on the draft policy submitted by the state, which was supposed to clear the decks for regularisation of illegal structures in Digha.

The court observed that the decision to regularise illegal structures will have disastrous consequence and it would also set an unhealthy precedent for other cities.


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