Rashmi Rekha Das

The Supertech Twin Towers in Noida were demolished on Sunday. Following the demolition, questions are now being raised over the illegal constructions in Bhubaneswar.

According to sources, the Odisha government has identified 200 buildings as unauthorised but not a single building has been demolished thanks to the alleged inaction of the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) and Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC). 

Though buildings had got court orders to be demolished, builders took stay orders and followed other ways to skip legal action, sources said. BMC authorities, meanwhile, stated that necessary action will be taken in this regard. 

The nearly 100-metre-high Twin towers - taller than Delhi's Qutub Minar - were the tallest structures ever to be demolished in India on Sunday. Over 3,700 kg of explosives were used to bring the two towers down, resulting in a sea of smoke and debris engulfing the area.

In 2020, two high-rise apartment complexes having 19-storey and 17-storey buildings known as Holy Faith H20, were demolished.  All of these buildings were razed after the Supreme Court found them to be constructed in violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone norms.

Though the heart of Bhubaneswar is full of such illegal constructions, the civic authorities are yet to take a call on it. Sources said, around 6,000 apartments in Bhubaneswar are found to be built illegally. 

Last year, the then Housing and Urban Development Minister Pratap Jena had informed that 487 out of 1,643 approved high-rises and buildings in the Capital have been declared illegal. And out of 487, direction has been issued for the demolition of around 200 buildings and apartments constructed illegally. 

Meanwhile, BDA accused BMC of not carrying out the court order. Secretary Kabindra Kumar Sahu of BDA said, “BMC has the rights to pull down illegal structures as per the Odisha Development Authority law. BMC has been provided a list in this regard for the last three years, but it is yet to act against those illegally constructed buildings.”

It is learnt that after the Odisha Real Estate Regulatory Authority came into being in 2017, builders have to take permission before constructing apartments. 

When contacted, Urban Development Minister Usha Devi said, “A survey is being conducted and action will be taken as per the law.”