Illegal constructions: Raman Bhalla committed huge violations: JMC

Jammu:  In the much publicized writ petition filed by Prof. S.K. Bhalla seeking directions to Jammu Municipal Corporation to initiate action against the Former Revenue Minister Raman Bhalla for raising unauthorized construction at Deeli (Marble Market), District Jammu wherein Justice Bansi Lal Bhat of J&K High Court (Jammu Wing) on December, 3, 2015 had directed Municipal Commissioner Jammu to take action warranted under law with regard to alleged major violations resorted to by Raman Bhalla in construction of his residential house in contravention of the approved site plan. Justice Bhat had also directed the Municipal Commissioner Jammu to file the Action Taken Report within three weeks.

On Friday, the Municipal Commissioner Jammu pursuant to the directions of the State High Court filed an Action Taken Report (ATR) wherein it was disclosed that Building Operation Controlling Authority, Municipal Area, Jammu granted the building permission in favour of Raman Bhalla vide permit No.848/BS/11 dated October, 31, 2011 and according to the Building Permission, Raman Bhalla was required to raise construction of 3060 + 180 (porch) sqft at ground floor and 3060 sqft at first floor with setbacks front 28 feet, sides 12.5 feet and 6.5 feet. The status report further says that the area/construction was inspected alongwith the team of State Vigilance Organization and after measurements conducted on July, 3, 2015 it was found that the former Revenue Minister has raised construction in contravention to the provisions of sanctioned plan as on spot it was found that Raman Bhalla has constructed an area measuring 4194 + 770 = 4964 sqft at ground floor and 4194 sqft at first floor i.e. 1724 sqft in violation of approved plan at ground floor and 1134 sqft in violation to approved plan at first floor.

The Action Taken Report according to CNS further states that a show cause notice under Section 7(1) of J&K Control of Building Operations Act, 1988 was served upon Raman Bhalla vide No.MJ/CEO/41/1/2015 dated December, 16, 2015. Upon receipt of the same the former Revenue Minister submitted reply to the show cause notice and after consideration of the reply and perusing the record a notice under Section 7(3) of J&K Control of Building Operations Act, 1988 bearing No.MJ/CEO/41/3/2015 dated December, 21, 2015 was served upon Raman Bhalla directing him to demolish the unauthorized construction raised in contravention to the sanctioned plan dated November, 30, 2011 within five days from the date of the notice failing which the same will be demolished at his risk and cost.

The ATR further says that Raman Bhalla has filed an appeal before J&K Special Tribunal Jammu and the Tribunal has passed an order of status-quo in the matter.

Pertinently, petitioner Prof. S.K. Bhalla in his writ petition has highlighted that the Jammu Municipal Corporation earlier preferred to remain a mute spectator due to the clout of the former Minister and facilitated the illegal construction and also the encroachment of Nallah in broad day light and despite joint inspection carried out with State Vigilance Organization no action was initiated against the Former Minister and thereafter the JMC on a RTI disclosure confessed that no action has been initiated against Raman Bhalla despite detection of major violations during the measurements taken by a team of SVO with the Khilafwarzi Wing of the Jammu Municipal Corporation. Based on the SVO’s status report filed in identical petition seeking registration of FIR against Raman Bhalla for raising the construction of a portion of house on State land wherein SVO referred the alleged major violations, Prof. Bhalla filed a writ petition seeking directions to JMC to initiate action against the Former Minister and also to initiate appropriate action against the Khilafwarzi Wing of the JMC particularly those officers/officials who remained remiss in reporting the violations of the approved plan in time to the higher authorities and further defaulted to take action against Raman Bhalla under J&K Control of Building Operations Act, 1988. The petitioner has also prayed that an FIR under Section 5(2) Prevention of Corruption Act be registered against the concerned officers/officials of Khilafwarzi Wing of JMC for not taking timely action against former Revenue Minister when admittedly he had raised 2858 sqft of illegal construction in violation of the approved site plan.

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