AHMEDABAD: Residents of Gokul Park Society, an upscale residential cluster in Gulbai Tekra area, are protesting against a developer who has allegedly built a seven-storey building to set up a PG facility.
Residents claim that the builder, Shrujal Patel of Abhinav Developers, has used land in the residential area to build the facility for commercial gain, which they claim is an illegal act. On his part, the builder says he has secured all necessary clearances, including the BU (building use) permission.
The society residents have knocked the doors of Gujarat High Court seeking demolition of the structure, claiming that Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation gave it a conditional BU certificate illegally. The petition also avers that the ‘commercial construction’ was done on a 40-metre internal road of the corporation in the residential area, where commercial activity is not permitted. The plea states that a seven-storey structure, with a basement parking but without adequate margin space on the sides, is not permissible.
Plot number 3 of Gokul Park Society measuring roughly 460 square yards was sold off in 2018 and the bungalow that existed on it was demolished. According to society office bearers, inquiries made by society residents on the type of construction planned elicited evasive replies from the builder.
Plot number 3 of Gokul Park Society measuring roughly 460 square yards was sold off in 2018 and the bungalow that existed on it was demolished. According to society office-bearers, inquiries made by society residents on the type of construction planned elicited evasive replies from the builder.
‘RTI pleas, complaints unanswered’
Worried that their peaceful and tranquil street might get transformed into a cacophonic stretch with massive parking problems if a commercial complex illegally comes up in the area, residents submitted three RTI applications before the authority concerned in the AMC in August 2019 — on August 20, 21 and 31 –to seek information on the building plan of the construction, but received no information from the civic body.
On October 4, a complaint was filed before the AMC to draw its attention to the construction in breach of relevant building regulations.
It was also conveyed to the authorities that the construction would cause nuisance and annoyance. AMC did not respond to the complaint either. Society members say that the evasive approach of the municipal corporation forced them to approach Gujarat High Court and file a Special Civil Application on December 19, 2019.
Petitioner and chairman of the society Dr Pallav Choksi says, “Bunglows on plots here are meant to house six-eight residents. But the builder is planning to accommodate about 150 paying guests in the PG girls’ hostel. The entire 460 sq yards have been used for construction and no margins have been kept on the sides. We are amazed how the AMC found it fit to give BU permission to the building even as the case was under litigation and we were still in the high court.”
During lockdown, a Covid-19 facility was allowed to be set up here by a hospital, but protests by the societies in the vicinity forced the AMC to get the hospital to change their plans, Choksi said.
Two-storey is maximum limit: Resident
One resident of the society said only a two-storey building in a residential area can be used for commercial purpose, and that too for small establishments like provision stores or a doctor or chartered accountant’s office as per GDCR rules. A building of this size is built purely for commercial use and is illegal. Are they going to provide accomodation and food for a nominal fee at the PG?” Society secretary Jayesh Shah said, “This must be the quickest BU permission given to any construction by AMC. The builder applied for BU permission on January 4, 2020, and the permission was granted on March 3, 2020.”
Chairman Choksi said under no circumstances can permission be given for a seven-storey commercial building with a basement parking in a residential area.
PG is residential facility: Civic official
When approached, AMC estate officer Chaitanya Shah said, “A PG arrangement is included in a residential facility description. PG is a residence hostel, and there is a GDCR provision that underlines this. PG is not a commercial enterprise, and this (the plot in question) is not a housing society plot. The matter is however in the Gujarat High Court.”
Respondents in the residents’ special application include A h m e d a b a d M u n i c i p a l Commissioner, Deputy municipal Commissioner, Town Development Officer (Danapith), Estate Officer, Town Development Officer (West Zone), developer Shrujal Sudhirbhai Patel and proprietors of Abhinav Developers, Amish G Chokshi and Ashir G Chokshi.
Plan approved, BU legitimate: Builder
Builder Shrujal Patel of Abhinav Developers said, “I got the necessary BU permission, the fire safety clearance and building plan approved by the AMC. Why would the AMC approve the plans and give me the BU permission if my construction was illegal? The fact is that residents fear that more such paying guest facilities will come up in the area.”
“They are eagerly awaiting a favourable judgment from the court in this case. Besides, Gokul Park is not a registered housing society, but instead only individual plots. One of these, I bought from my cousin and built a PG guest facility,” the builder further added.