CCMC gets cracking on 28 ‘illegal’ structures

Eleven illegal structures were razed by the Curchorem Cacora Municipal Council (CCMC) in the first phase of a major demolition drive undertaken by it on Thursday. These had been spared the axe for long despite the 1997 high court order mandating that all footpaths and public passages be freed of all illegal encroachments.

The CCMC had earlier identified 28 illegal structures for demolition in the first phase. But 13 of the identified 28 structures dismantled their encroachments on their own, while two others raised objections claiming that they were wrongly identified. Action on the remaining two units will be taken in the next phase, it was informed.

The exercise which was carried out under strong police protection passed of smoothly without any untoward incident. "The demolition was long overdue. I can't comment on why they were not demolished all these years, as these structures were clearly on public pathways. However, the demolition exercise passed off peacefully, as the traders and the public cooperated," chief officer of the CCMC Agnelo A Fernandes told TOI, at the end of the exercise which lasted for nearly four hours.

A strong posse of policemen led by Curchorem PI Sidhant Shirodkar kept a strict vigil as the demolition squad went about razing the structures to avert any law and order situation. Fernandes along with joint mamlatdar Laxmikant Kuttikar oversaw the operations.

"The next phase of the demolition, targeting all encroachments on road widening areas will be taken up after holding a meeting with the PWD and all stakeholders, including the traders' association," Fernandes said.

Sources said that the demolition of the structures during the second phase will be taken up only after a proper demarcation of the encroached areas, with a view to ensure that public resistance doesn't come in the way of the exercise. Over a 100 traders are likely to be affected during the second phase of the operation.

The CCMC has sent its newly-formed rehabilitation policy for affected traders to the directorate of municipal administration (DMA) for its approval. "Once we get the nod from the DMA, we will invite claims from traders for rehabilitation as per the new eligibility criteria decided by the council," Fernandes said. [TOI]