The Madras High Court has directed the Commissioner, Ooty Municipality, to complete demolition of illegal constructions in the famous hill station within two months.
The First Bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M. Sathyanarayanan, stated this while disposing of a PIL filed by lawyer 'Elephant' G Rajendran.
"Post 2007, there are stated to be 107 unauthorized constructions. Within this two-month period, the Corporation will take final action - that is if it is compoundable offence it has to be compounded and if it is beyond the compoundable limits or compounding is not paid, demolition will follow."
The bench observed it was not as if authorities are devoid of statutory powers to act but some of them appeared to lack the will, resulting in growth of unauthorised constructions and the task of remedial action itself becoming huge.
The bench in its interim order of October 15 directed the authorities to prepare a Google map which would identify their exact position so that none could claim in future that the construction existed before the said date.
The above map should be prepared within a month, it said and directed the authorities to recover the cost already spent on demolitions carried out by it from the parties concerned within a month from the order date.
The state government was also directed to make available funds, which were now stated to be Rs. 1.35 crore, to carry out demolition of 76 unauthorized buildings.
The PIL was filed seven years ago, seeking action against unauthorized constructions in Udagamandalam and directions to demolish the same was put up in the taluks of Ooty, Gudalur, Kothagiri and Coonoor in Nilgiris district.
The counter affidavit by Commissioner of Udhagamandalam Municipality stated as on the cut-off date of 2007, the total number of buildings are 1337,of which 69 were approved. Seventy were demolished while 20 cases were pending in court, where interim orders are under operation.
The counter further said that on 945 buildings the review petitions are pending before the government and on 225 buildings action is pending.
The bench stressed the need for authorities to file a periodical status report and directed all officials concerned to file it before the court for every two months.
It then posted the matter to December 17.