Times of India | 4 days ago | 25-11-2022 | 11:09 am
THANE: The Thane municipal corporation will probe the allegations of bungalows constructed illegally within the ‘eco-sensitive zone’ of Yeour, officials informed. The development comes after Upa-LokAyukta, Sanjay Bhatia, chaired an online hearing of the application last week, which was filed by a Thane-based activist in 2021, following which it directed the Thane municipal commissioner Abhijit Bangar who attended the online hearing in the matter to investigate the issue and submit a report within the next 45 days. As many as seven lavish residential structures, apparently owned by relatives of former bureaucrats and elected representatives from Thane, have been built within the restricted area of the jungle which could impact movement of the wildlife, it is feared. The activist alleged the bungalows were constructed on agricultural land in Yeour within the limits of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, which was classified as an eco-sensitive area. The bungalows have been constructed by the company owned by a former chairperson of the Thane civic education committee and the occupants are relatives of former bureaucrats and politicians from Thane, the activist alleged. “The constructions are right in the middle of the jungle and are likely to impact the wildlife and have been done without consent of the Thane corporation or the forest department. I have presented proof to show the constructions were made during the pandemic. Despite complaints, the Thane corporation has cast a blind eye for unknown reasons. Accordingly, I approached the Lok Ayukta in 2021 following which the case came up for hearing in the second week of November,” said the activist. The corporation said officials have visited the site in the past and spotted the residential structures which are also taxed as per the prevalent norms and marked as illegal in their records. Officials said they would also seek a report from the forest department to ascertain if the stretch where the constructions have come up was eco-sensitive. When contacted, Abhijit Bangar, Thane civic commissioner confirmed the development and said the corporation has started work on preparing a factual report on the issue.