MSEDCL, SNDL allowed to provide power connections sans occupancy certificate

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 06 Apr 2018 09:54:38


Staff Reporter,

High Court modifies its order, allows MSEDCL and SNDL to supply power to houses with sanctioned maps, continues ban on structures in dangerous proximity to high-tension line

IN a major respite to thousands of house owners whose power supply connection application is not processed due to want of occupancy or completion certificate, Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has modified its earlier order and allowed the power utilities to give fresh connections to new constructions with sanctioned map. The restriction on giving power supply has been continued in case of constructions in dangerous proximity to high-tension lines.

The High Court in an effort to halt occupation of housing units situated quite close to power supply lines and illegal construction of balconies and galleries due to which distance of building line from power line was reduced, had directed the power distribution utilities on August 31, 2017 not to supply electricity to any tenement or apartment or structure without occupancy or completion certificate.

The Amicus Curiae Shreerang Bhandarkar in his note urged the High Court to modify the order to stop harassment of citizens at the hands of civic body officials. Though the NMC counsel seriously disputed the claim of harassment, the High Court agreed to modify the order and restrict it only for areas near high tension lines.

The power utilities were in a fix following August 31 order due to which no new connection could be issued.
A division bench consisting of Justice Bhushan Gavai and Justice Murlidhar Giratkar while hearing a suo motu public interest litigation dealing with tragic deaths of two tiny tots at Armors Town in Sugat Nagar, clarified the order and ruled out power connection to structures in proximity of high tension line, but relaxed the blanket ban on issuance of connection to other premises which are in safe zone. The High Court praised Amicus Curiae for coming out with such an exhaustive list within no time and incorporated entire list in its order.

The High Court also continued prohibition on more than 2100 structures identified by the NMC and NIT which are under high tension line or in dangerous proximity of high tension line. The bench turned down requests made by some interveners to supersede the earlier orders about compulsory payments and made it amply clear that its last order had taken care of this aspect.

The High Court in its January 10 order had put all erring staffers of NMC, Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) and Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) on notice for sanctioning residential units and power supply to dwellings situated right beneath the high tension power lines. The High Court had directed that expenses for the same should be recovered from salaries/wages of such staffers. Additionally builders responsible for such construction and people who willingly purchased such residential units would be required to shell out money, the High Court had ordered.

The NMC staffers in their application had claimed that they were not even remotely connected with alleged illegalities committed by various authorities. Brushing aside their apprehension, the High Court during last hearing noted that it was a settled law that recovery of amount from salary of an employee would be punitive in nature and such action could not be taken without following procedure prescribed by law.

“We are sure that what the Court meant by observations in the said order is that recovery would be made from such officials, who are found in enquiry to have indulged in illegalities leading to the present chaotic situation,” the bench observed while disposing of the civil application.

The High Court reminded them that expert committee would conduct verification of dangerous sites where high tension line was situated in dangerous proximity to residential units or crisis-cross schools posing a grave and permanent danger to residents and small children and submit a report. Only, then the issue to fix the responsibility of agency and individuals responsible for such a shocking lapse could be finalised.

The shocking deaths of children had badly exposed the existence of high tension lines very near to residential localities since the incident had revealed the flawed planning process and absolute lack of co-ordination between various agencies. Apart from laying high tension line dangerously near the residential localities to granting sanctions to schools, colleges and localities beneath high tension lines, lot of complicated issues are involved in this matter.

Adv Shreerang Bhandarkar (Amicus Curiae), Addl GP Deepak Thakre (State), Adv Sudhir Puranik (NMC), Adv Girish Kunte (NIT), Adv A M Quazi (MSEDCL), Adv Anjan De (Armor Builders), Adv Anand Parchure, P B Patil and S R Bhongade (NMC staffers) appeared in the matter.

Who can get fresh connections?

Slums where no HT line exists

Tenements where distance between power line and structure is maintained as per DCR

Fresh connections for old houses/old premises/old buildings/old flat schemes where no HT line exists or exists as per DCR

Houses/premises/flat schemes/ where HT line exists but distance is as per DCR

New houses/commercial buildings/new flat schemes/premises having/possessing sanctioned plan

New houses/premises constructed in freshly developed lay-outs which are subject to regularisation under Gunthewari Act

Temporary connections for programmes, religious festivals

Regular connection for new construction in open plot/ground