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GUARDIAN NEWS BUREAU

SHILLONG: The Meghalaya High Court today ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to seize all documents of 12 high-rise buildings identified by a committee to have flouted building bye laws.

Acting Chief Justice Uma Nath Singh, who passed the order in presence of the two other judges, also referred the matter suo motto to a full bench, indicating gravity of the matter.

Sources say this is the first time the full bench of the Meghalaya High Court, since its establishment on March 23 last year, has taken up any case for hearing.

Justice Singh issued the order for seizure of the buildings’ documents on the basis of a report submitted by an eight-member committee constituted by a double bench of the High Court on September 4 this year.

While issuing the seizure order, he also directed the CBI Shillong to produce the documents in the next hearing of the case on December 5.

The court was hearing the case on the basis of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate JM Thankiew alleging rampant violation of the building bye laws of the Meghalaya Urban Development Authority (MUDA).

East Khasi Hills deputy commissioner, urban affairs department director B Dutta, MUDA secretary, social activist Toki Blah, petitioner JM Thankiew, senior advocate SP Mahanta, senior government counsel ND Shullai and petitioner’s counsel K Paul.

The committee, after inspection of 52 under-construction buildings in 19 identified areas of the city, found 12 buildings to have violated the bye laws.

The 19 areas of the where the committee was mandated to conduct inspections are – Police Bazar, Thana Road, GS Road, Bivar Road, Jail Road, Oakland, Keating Road, Bishop Road, Quinton Road, Lachumiere, Qualapatty, Laban, Bishnupur, Laitumkhrah, Dhankheti, Motinagar, Demseiniong, Malki and Barik.

However, the committee found building law violators only in eight of the 19 areas.

The highest number of building law violators is from Bivar Road where three buildings were found to have flouted the laws.

In Jail Road, two buildings have been found to have flouted the norms, followed one each in Police Bazar, Thana Road, Oakland Road, Keating Road, Laban and Motinagar.

However, sources say given the number of high-rise buildings in some of these areas, finding only 12 buildings as violators of the bye laws is something which can be far from the truth.

According to MUDA provisions, no private building can exceed G+3 (ground plus 3 floors) limit.

Asked, deputy commissioner Sanjay Goyal, who headed the committee, told The Meghalaya Guardian that the mandate given to the committee was only to inspect the under-construction buildings and not completed ones.

He also mentioned that he was out of the state for training when the committee filed the report on October 16 this year.

(Published in lead story in The Meghalaya Guardian on November 29, 2014)

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