Saturday, February 17, 2018
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Allahabad High Court has been very tough on all the Development authorities which include the ADA for illegally extorting various development charges from the people building houses on their land.

The bench of Mr Justice Arun Tandon and  Mr Anjani Kumar Mishra has observed that  ‘counsels appearing  for development authorities could not disclose the source of power to levy any such cess under the Urban Planning and Development Act 1973’ The Development authorities are in trouble because the High Court has ordered that the Development charges should be refunded within a month of the receipt of an application to this effect from the aggrieved parties.
In the past the officers have invariably pleaded that they took over the reins of the administration only recently and hence they could not be blamed for the lapse. But I may tell them that some of them have gone from one Development Authority to another. They must therefore be knowing everything about the issue concerned. Why didn’t they start the process of legitimizing the charges? The officials are now perturbed because  the Court has ordered  action against officers who did nothing to get the related bylaws approved from the State Government for the last 40 years.  Principle Secretary Housing and Urban Planning,  Mr Sadakant took the plea that he had assumed charge  of this post only in April 2013 and therefore the period of nine months was too short  to comply with the statutory provisions and preparation of the concerned zonal plan. But this did not impress the court which said, ‘It is high time officers are made accountable and not allowed to get away scot free merely on the plea that they had assumed office only nine months ago’. The Court has directed the Chief Secretary to take action against such officers.

We have written in the past that this transfer ploy is invariably  seen to be used when there is a chance of the officials at a particular post being challenged for their acts of omission and commission. In this connection we wrote several time about the assurances given by bureaucrats that  those indulging in malpractices   while completing the assigned Mela jobs will be punished. But when the time comes to punish them those officers are nowhere around! Look at the mess of our Mahakumbh roads. We were told by previous officials that if the work was found to be of substandard quality , accountability would be fixed and the defaulters punished. But all those officers are not around. Many of the prestigious roads repaired or streamlined for Mahakumh lie in tatters. But no one has been punished. Why? This is a question to which the citizens are seeking an answer

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