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Press Note - FAQ on demolitions in Mysore

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InfrastructurePedestrian Infrastructure

Clarifications sought by the shop keepers and public of Mysore City about the recent encroachments removal by the Mysore City Corporation, is given as under with actual facts and legal position for the information of the public.

Q1. Why is this encroachment removal being done?

Mysore is a tourism destination and every year more than 25 lakh tourists visit the city. There is heavy pedestrian traffic in the major roads of the city throughout the year. Unfortunately, commercial establishments have encroached into the footpaths by placing their bill boards and other items, putting of temporary and semi-permanent structures like footsteps. 

It is observed that there is blatant violations of law by the shops and establishments in this regard. The Mysore City Corporation realizing the inconvenience caused to the public, intended to remove these encroachments. Apart from causing public inconvenience, these encroachments are also sending wrong signals to the public that violators of law will go scot-free and encouraging the common man to violate the law. Though the Corporation intended to remove the encroachments, the magnitude of the task deterred the Corporation as removal in one area will lead to allegations of favouritism.

Q2. Why has this been taken up now?

The encroachments should have been taken up as and when they occurred. Unfortunately, and for the reasons best known to the Corporation, it was not done. The first initiative regarding removal of encroachments was done in Jan.2008, when the Corporation authorities carried out a survey of such encroachments under the then SE, Sri Prabhakar Hemmige in coordination with MUDA and Police authorities and 18 major roads were identified . All the 18 roads were videographed and photographed and detailed maps prepared. It was planned for removal of encroachments. But, unfortunately, around this time, the Commissioner (Sri Manivannan.P) was transferred  and the new Commissioner (Sri Lingappa, KAS) appear to have not followed up the issue.

Subsequently, when the new Commissioner, Sri Raikar took charge, he intended to follow up the encroachment removal drive. Discussions were held with then Commissioner of Police, Mysore City, Dr.Parashiva Murthy.But, the then Commissioner of Police suggested to postpone it. Hence, at that time, the things stood where they were.

When the new Police Commissioner (Sri Sunil S Agarwal, IPS) took charge, on the very first day, the DC and the Commissioner, MCC had a meeting with him regarding the proposal for removal of encroachments. It was Dasara 2009 and hence it was decided to remove the encroachments after the Dasara. Unfortunately, due to floods in Northern Karnataka, the demolition exercise could not be taken up.  Hence, it was taken up now.

Q3. Was any survey done and property owners informed about the drive?

As mentioned earlier, a detailed survey was conducted as early as 2008. Detailed  photographs and videographs regarding violations. The property owners were aware of the survey   of the properties as it was done in the day time. The shopkeepers thought that the Corporation does not have the wherewithal to carry out any demolition exercise in such a huge scale and they did not pay heed to such warnings. Also, there is no requirement to issue show cause notice to the violators as the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act,1976 makes an express provision to take care of such violations without issuing show cause notice (Sec.288 d). It is pertinent to note that this section has been inserted as an amendment in the year 1986 keeping in mind the complexities involved in such removal. When there is an express provision for removal of such encroachments, the question of issuing show cause notice does not arise at all. Thus, the whole operation  is legally and morally correct. It also sends a strong signal to the citizens of the city that administration will act on violations.

Section 288-D : Commissioner may without notice remove encroachment:- Not withstanding anything contained in this Act, the Commissioner,  may without notice, cause to be removed:-

(a)    any wall, fence, rail, step, booth or other structure or fixture which is erected or set up in contravention of the provisions of Section 288-A.

(b)   any stall, chair, bench, box, ladder, bale, or any other thing, whatsoever, placed or deposited in contravention of Section 288-B.

(c)    any article, whatsoever, hawked or exposed for sale in any public place or in any public street in contravention of Section 288-C and any vehicle, package, box, board, shelf or any other thing in or on which such article is placed, or kept for the purpose of sale.

(Section 288-A:-Prohibition of structures or fixtures which cause obstruction in public streets:- No person shall except with the written permission of the Commissioner under Section 288 erect or set up any wall, fence, rail, post, step, booth or other structures or fixtures in or upon any public street or upon or over any open channel, well or tank in any street so as to form an obstruction to, or an encroachment upon or a projection over, or to occupy any portion of such street, channel, drain, well or tank)

Q4. Were the elected representatives kept informed?

Also, it is known to everybody that the Mysore City Corporation is  not a secret agency and it works under the Council. When preparations in such a massive scale was done, definitely it was known to the Council and others involved. Even the Commissioner has informed the Mayor a day before the demolition.  At the same time, it is pertinent to note that encroachment removal is a  routine duty of the officers and it does not require any approval from the Council nor from any elected body. In this regard, we did not have intention to discard any elected representatives. However, we will inform the concerned elected representatives henceforth.

Q5. Were there any excesses during the demolition operation?

The demolition operation was done after a survey with complete videograph and photograph. While carrying out the demolition, it was observed that there were more encroachments than what was noticed in the survey. And, hence, these encroachments had also to be removed and the officer in-charge of the demolition is duty bound to remove such encroachments put up illegally, whether aerial or otherwise.

Notwithstanding anything above, when such a massive exercise is done involving six major roads and about 1000 properties, there is bound to be some excess demolition  done by oversight or due to huge machines used in the demolition. In such cases, the affected person may represent to the Corporation with all supporting documents, which will be examined and necessary relief/compensation will be paid, if found true.

A structure is a legal structure only when its plan for putting up the structure including foot step, name board, etc., are approved by the Mysore City Corporation. If any structure or artificial projection is made without the written permission of the Corporation, then it is a violation under Section 288-A and D and hence it is liable to be removed. If there are any persons who has got documentary evidence of permission taken from Corporation, then, he may approach the corporation with a petition in this regard. If proved that the structure has been removed which he has got permission from the Corporation, all such cases will be examined and if proved that the demolition has been done in spite of the person showing the documents, then his case will be considered. As per the law, all the shop keepers are supposed to display the approved plan in the shop and also show it on demand. If at all they had built legally, nothing prevents them to produce documents during demolition.

Q.6 How were the roads chosen?

In the survey done earlier, 18 major roads have been taken in the Central Business District and demolition operation prioritized depending upon the pedestrian traffic of each road. Under Phase -2 and Phase-3 remaining roads will be taken up for the drive.

Q7. Will the demolition operations continue?

Yes. The balance roads of the 18 identified will be taken up and people representatives and the public are requested to extend their wholehearted cooperation to the authorities, which is aimed at removing the inconvenience to the public and towards development of the city. It is also requested that such encroachments be removed by the owners themselves.

Q8. What other roads have been taken up?

In phase-2 and 3, the following roads will be taken up.

  1. Ramanuja Road
  2. Jhansi Lakshmi Bai Road
  3. Ramavilas Road
  4. Jayaprakash Nagar Main Road
  5. Shivaji Road
  6. Rajendra Nagar main Road
  7. Pulikeshi Road
  8. Mission Hospital Road
  9. Sawday Road
  10. Kalidasa Road
  11. Gokulam Main Road
  12. Encroachments in and around Mysore Palace

If any public finds any other encroachment on the pavement, they can bring it to the notice of the undersigned. It is hereby made very clear that in these roads, only the violations under Section 288-A and D will be removed and not anything else. Only those projections encroached into the public place, footpath road will be removed. Hence, those who have encroached into public place either by footpath or by aerial projections, board, lightings, etc., are hereby directed to remove themselves to avoid any excess damage during the operation with the machines. The phase-2 and 3 will be taken up any time after 2 weeks.

Q9 . What is the message that Mysore City Corporation wants to convey?

Mysore City Corporation wants to convey a message that violations of law will not be tolerated and nobody is above law even if they are most influential, wealthiest traders. We request the public to respect law and support the Corporation in drive against encroachment and violations of law. It is done in the public interest and the interest of law.


Commissioner,

Mysore City Corporation,

Mysore.

Comments

silkboard's picture

Bangalore is due as well

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Needless to say, this is due in Bangalore as well. All pedestrianization drives etc stop on this particular point.

BBMP will also have to do it one day or another. The question "why now" will be asked, but why be afraid of it?

Apart from causing public inconvenience, these encroachments are also sending wrong signals to the public that violators of law will go scot-free and encouraging the common man to violate the law. Though the Corporation intended to remove the encroachments, the magnitude of the task deterred the Corporation as removal in one area will lead to allegations of favouritism

s_yajaman's picture

Wonderful

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Heartening to see this sort of will to do the lawful thing.  I was telling someone that how a government department funtions depends on the person at the top.  If he/she sets the tone that no nonsense will be tolerated, then the message gets quickly across. 

The shopkeepers will suffer in the short run.  But once the footpaths are cleared and neatened, their business will grow.  People who walk are more likely to enter a shop than people who drive past.  Tourists (who most likely don't drive cars) will have the pleasure of walking along.  A walkable city is always a pleasure to visit.   Tourism will get a boost. 

Srivathsa

 

Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

psaram42's picture

Where does the buck stop?

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 “The encroachments should have been taken up as and when they occurred. Unfortunately, and for the reasons best known to the Corporation, it was not done.” 

Does the buck stop at Corporation? If the corporation is absent as in the case of Bangalore, does it mean that Mr. Bharat Lal Meena an IAS office need not take care of on going encroachment of government land in BBMP limits as and when it happens? Who is the custodian of government land in the heart of the city of cities like Mysore or Bangalore?

Same is the case in the law enforcement side of the civic triangle. Kiran Bedi the first Lady IPS officer has shown the way to be followed by members of these elite services. 

shas3n's picture

Appreciate the courage

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Goes without saying that all of us here on Praja welcome this and further planned demolitions of illegal encroachments.

One thing that worried me slightly was the report in Star of Mysore indicating that 'Mobile phones and landlines were blocked by operators owing to the request from authorities'.

While I appreciate the need for this, (in fact feel sorry for the state of affairs that have lead us to take this extreme measure), I do not think this sets an ethical precedent.

Blocking communication en mass might have inconvenienced other innocent citizens too. May be a better alternative will be found in future.

That said, congratulations to the administrative and execution teams for their courage in executing these demolitions.

 

-Shastri

Mani1972's picture

Clarification regarding jamming of cell network

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Dear friends,

 

The cell network has been turned off only in that portion of the city where the demolition was on. (2km around the Palace).  It was done not because the officers wanted to avoid the influence, but to reduce the rumors and flaring of emotions, thru sms and calls.

We were aware of the issue of emergency. Hence, no landlines were touched. landlines were working. Also one cellular network was not jammed. (BSNL). We also positioned 6 ambulances in that area, to attend to in case of any medical emergency.

We request our friends to kindly cross verify the reports in the media.

warm regards

Manivannan,P.

 

Manivannan

sanjayv's picture

What is the legal procedure?

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 While I greatly appreciate the demolition drives that are long overdue all over the country to reclaim public space, this cell phone network turning off business bothers me also.  Since I am not doing the demolition and appreciate the complicated dynamics at work , this is not an attempt to stand in judgement on this effort.

In our country, the citizen already has less than a desirable level of protection on his/her civil liberties and privacy.  Granted, things are better here than many other countries, but let us aspire to higher standards.  How is something like this executed in practice? Does a judge have to give permission? Today it is a cell phone network for a few hours that restricted some citizen's rights to free speech as compared to his fellow citizen 2 kms away.  It does not sound all that bad upon reflection. I find it about as annoying as when a "VIP" gets abnormal privileges on the road at my expense.

Tomorrow it could be a greater infringement.  Who decides, and what is my protection as the little man?

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

very pro-active indeed...but..

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Will there be sustainability of guarding the reclaimed public spaces and what action has been initiated against those who allowed such encroachments to take place - Kannada proverb: Hannu thindonu nunichikonda, sippe thindono sikki haakikonda (trans: one who ate the pulp got away and the one who ate the skin got caught)?

Our experience is that old habits die hard and encroachments will be back once the heat dies down and the area power houses who are supporting the encroachers now and creating an uproar in the MCC Council meetings will see that such unawful activities will continue under their protective umbrella.  Time will tell.

What about existing pedestrian walkways/footpaths? Except a few main thoroughfares that were done up in the name of Dasara works, the rest of the footpaths throughout the city are an apology to pedestrian walkways.  Example: Wide foopaths on Umar Khayyam Road between Bamboo Bazaar Circle and Shalimar theatre in Tilak Nagar has never seen proper maintenance and invariably cows are tied to the trees on the umkempt foothpath which, otherwise, should have been made as a model footpath with cobbled stones laid or laid with ornamental interlaced concrete blocks with enough percolation for rain water.

People have been forced to walk on the road, keep getting brushed past the fast moving vehicles on the one side and the menacing cows and the smell of dung on the other.

Recently, on the eve of organising Video coverage of Torch Light Parade proceedings in Edigah Maidan, the footpaths were cleared of parthenium, bushes etc., and the muck dumped into the storm water drain in front of deaf and dumb hostel.

Nothing seems to move the service providers despite photos being published in print and electronic media.  

It is said that babies who cry get milk, in the case of Umar Khayyam Road, babies are continuing to cry without getting any milk and their tears have dried up.

Vasanthkumar Mysoremath

  

murali772's picture

blocking communication lines does not give a comfortable feel

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Dear Mani Sir

While complimenting you on the excellent work, I cannot help but agree with the views expressed by Sastri, and further elaborated upon by Sanjay. While your constraints are very much appreciated, I would still think you need to come up with more democratic ways of countering the ways of the mischief mongers, of whom admittedly there are plenty around.

Sir, you enjoy such phenominal credibility with the masses. When you were shifted out of turn, the entire citizenry in Hubli-Dharwar protested, and the powers that be had to retract their steps. If such a person goes on the local TV before starting on the demolition action, explains the position, and appeals to the citizenry for support, would they not support him, helping to neutralise the machinations of the mafia's?

I don't know if I am being naive. But, whatever, the mis-use that blocking of communication lines can cause, somehow does not give a comfortable feel.

Regards, Muralidhar Rao  
 

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

point taken , Sir

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The very evening I made the above posting, even as I was watching Tendulkar's valiant, but unsuccessful, attempt at saving the 5th ODI match with Australia, Manivannan called up to explain his stance. The point he was trying to make was that it was not as much the mischief-mongers that he was worried about than the emotional outbursts of the traders, when faced with the reality of demolition of structures put up by them out of hard-earned money, even if their doing so was clearly ill-advised.

Emotional outbursts can be really dangerous, and he has learnt the hard way that these cannot always be handled by conventional means, and therefore the resort to the slightly unconventional (for him, though conventional for many others) means. He was at pains to state that this was a one-off instance to ensure the success of the major exercise he was launching on to re-establish the authority of the state. He stated that the exercise would be continued, and with the authority having been established now, such acts will not be necessary again.

Well, point taken, Sir. The very fact that you bothered to call to explain your position, shows your sensitivity to criticism from members of the public you consider balanced in their views, which provides the very basis for the right kind of checks and balances in a democracy. We are honoured, and we appreciate your honourable intentions - all strength to you, Sir.

I intended to post this the very next day - but, many things came up in the meanwhile, and I could manage it only today.
 

Muralidhar Rao
Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Saama, Daana, Bedha, Danda

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Mani Sir

Well done about reinstating/reconfirming the authority of the State in removing the encroachments. Indeed appreciable because the authorities have very correctly adopted the last of the vedic recommendations - THE DANDA..

At the same time, my two paise submission -

How did the encroachments take place and what were the enforcement authorities doing during such law breaking?

Clapping needs both hands - one who bribes is also guilty and one who takes also guilty.

But one who ate the pulp got away and one who ate the skin got caught and was made to loose his investment as well as encroachment.  In the eyes of the law, Law is always right.

My submission is, let there be a semblance of punishing not only the encroacher but also the one who allowed the encroachment by turning a Nelsons' Eye. 

Score brownies and goodwill by pulling up both the parties and if I am right, laws apply equally to all! 

Pardon me for being frank and as an ex-Audit man may i request your kind self to clarify whether the other vedic thoughts Saama, Daana and Bedha, extended to both parties with equanimity because media had said 'no notice need be given to one who breaks the law'?  

Vasanth Mysoremath

 

 

cutezorba's picture

Question 5 is not answered

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There is a mismatch between the question 5: Were there any excesses during the demolition operation? and the following answer.

The meaning of excesses in this context is different. It is about whether there was a 'democratic process' followed - like, was a notice served in advance, was an opertunity given to other side to state thier case, was any kind of force used to supress the voice of people with out an oppertunity being to given, etc.,

Mani1972's picture

No Excesses!

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Dear Cutezorba,

My apologies for the response after almost an year! I just missed this, and happen to see it now, as i have sometime to go thru all the old posts! (i am in Bihar, as election observer now)

Ok. I get your question. As my memory goes, i had issued a letter almost 2 weeks before to the Municipal commissioner about the demolition, and the list of roads. It was known to all the corporators. I am not aware if notices were issued.

But, legally speaking, we need not issue notices to encrochments on footpath. An amendment was made in the karnataka Municipal corporation act, 1976,  specifically empowering the Corporation to act without such notices (ONLY for encrochment on the footpaths).

(No force can be used to suppress the voice of the people in a vibrant democracy like India, without declaring 'Emergency'!!!)

As we have strictly acted as per law, i can assure you that there were no 'excesses'. Thanks for the thought provoking question!

 

Manivannan

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