Minister asks SCB to halt demolition drive

Cantonment Board objects, says no stopping till Defence Ministry orders.
Hyderabad: Union Minister of State for roads, transport and highways Sarve Satyanarayana, on Thursday asked the Secunderabad Cantonment Board authorities to “keep in abeyance” its demolition drive against illegal constructions.
The Union minister, along with the Secunderabad Cantonment MLA and former minister Dr P. Shankar Rao, said that a large number of poor families, who were staying in houses on land under Old Grant Bungalows limits, were being affected by the drive.
“Keep the demolition drive in abeyance for some time. Even the elections are fast approaching. I will take up the matter with the defence minister and we would like to come out with a package wherein houses of the poor can be regularised on defenceowned lands in exchange of state government land. The poor families have been staying there for 25 years,” he said.
At the Cantonment Board meeting here, the minister first expressed his displeasure over the meeting being convened when Parliament was in session.
While appreciating SCB chief executive officer Sujatha Gupta’s efforts in taking up demolition of function halls in Old Grant Bungalows, Satyanarayana asked her to also ensure that those who had converted the bungalows for commercial use and were making lakhs of rupees, start paying tax to the Cantonment Board. He also asked for the realons behind the SCB carrying out demolitions at Agrasen Bhavan.
The minister went to the extent of stating that the CBI should not be booking cases against officials.
Gupta said that the CBI had been asking officials why hundreds of notices were being issued against illegal constructions, but not being executed.
Stating that notices had been issued in 2007, 2010 and 2011 on old grant bungalows that had been converted into function halls and for other commercial use, the SCB CEO said that they were demolishing illegal structures in these function halls for which there were no stay orders from the court.
“The demolition drive can be stopped only if we get such orders from the defence ministry,” Gupta added.
On taking action against SCB officials who had allowed these illegal function halls to come up in Old Grant Bungalows area and at other places, Gupta said that an in-house inquiry was being conducted and stringent action would be taken against the guilty.
( Source : dc )
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