The Enduring problem of Illegal constructions in India's Cities

25 Jan 2022

Curtain Hug

What is Illegal Construction?
Looking at the constantly increasing number of populations in our country, we can see that the resources are shrinking in quantity to satisfy the needs of everyone. In other words, our country has less food (resources) and a huge number of mouths to feed. As soon as the resources start to shrink due to increasing population, the land area also has started to reduce, to provide accommodation to people more than a particular place permits, giving rise to illegal construction. Illegal constructions can be known as constructions made without any proper authority, permission or legal documents of the area to construct upon. These constructions help save their expenditure also, that is why many people choose illegal construction to save their pockets and meet their land demands.

What are some of the causes/reasons for the illegal construction?
Poverty- Poverty in our country pushes people to choose the illegal road to fulfil their land demands in order to save on the money that will be required to complete the legal formalities, also to save time. Illegal construction enables more than the permitted amount of accommodation and that is why poverty-stricken people opt for illegal construction as they get accommodation for however many people they want.
Urbanization- The process of urbanization causes displacement of people belonging to a place where urbanization takes place. Due to this practice many people lose their authorized/ legal lands or accommodations which forces them to move out to the places which are already full with the permitted number of accommodations, and construct accommodation for themselves illegally in order to save the left finances and resources with them.
Shifting in cities- People living in big cities, when shift from one locality to another, go for illegally constructed properties as the properties otherwise are extremely costly and to manage their expenses, people choose to shift to an illegally constructed property which costs them a little less than the otherwise legally built properties.
Poor vigilance- Due to the notorious element in India; ‘Corruption’, Many unlawful activities take place, which gives rise to many other illegal practices. As we know to hide one default one has to practice many other unlawful activities putting one’s life at stake and becoming a defaulter, which also includes illegal construction.

Consequences of illegal construction in India-
Absence of housing related necessary services like water and sanitation, as these are being stolen or are without the authorisation of the government being snatched away from the people accommodating an authorised or legally constructed property around the ones which are illegally constructed, leaving scarce or no resources for them.
The residents belonging to illegal structures or properties have no access to bank services like loans or renovation or expansion of their business, if their business is related to their property.
If the structure is proven or found to be illegal it can be demolished immediately causing a huge amount of loss to its residents in terms of finance and accommodation, also it makes them a defaulter in the eyes of the law.

How to report an illegal construction?
One can report an illegal construction in and around their area of residency by following one of these easy steps-
Visit a Municipal Corporation office of the city and lodge a complaint with the proper procedure.
The government has also launched an online portal to facilitate people with lodging their complaints online in a hassle-free manner.
One can also file a complaint with the police stating the complaint of illegal construction and can take help for prevention of illegal construction around their locality.

Illegal construction causes hindrances in the lives of people residing in an illegal property as well as around the area of the illegal property, the life of people staying in an illegal property at stake always, since construction is banned or not permissible at a particular piece of land due to a reason, that can even be environmental/ soil related, which can result in loss of lives, hard earned money/ savings of the residents and much more. What we as responsible citizens of our country can do to stop such illegal activities is to raise our voices Against these, complain about them and help make this place a better one for the ones doing things right!

The governmental authorities do have a mechanism to break through this unlawful cycle of activities, but still these practices take place. However, to completely eradicate these activities the citizens and the law have to work together. The municipal corporation should still stiffen their counter-attack plans even more to help eradicate this problem completely from our country.

-By Smridhi Nangia
Content Writer
Social Journal