MUMBAI: Mumbai Housing and Area Development Board (A unit of MHADA) officers are trying to convince the residents of BDD chawl at N.M.Joshi Marg to move out in transit buildings but the BDD chawl residents have asked for final rehabilitation agreements before they leave their current residence.
Last year MHADA board has shifted 268 families from here in transit buildings and promised them that the final rehabilitation agreements will be given in no time, all those families are awaiting the final agreement. They only have a copy of a transit agreement for 33 months and almost 12 months have already passed. There was no sign of the project moving forward as promised.
The BDD chawls project is a prime redevelopment project in the city spread across around 92 acres in Worli, Sewri, Lower Parel and Naigaon. Except Sewri, MHADA is the nodal agency for the redevelopment of all three BDD chawls. MHADA is currently in the phase of doing a survey to decide the eligibility of the occupiers and the government has asked for proof of documents before 2017.
At N. M. Joshi Marg, land parcel size is 13 acres 36 guntha. 32 buildings and 2560 occupiers are there. Shapoorji Pallonji Group has been awarded the contract of redevelopment. Eligibility survey of 607 occupiers is completed by MHADA in ten buildings and 268 occupiers are shifted to transit buildings.
Since last month (July) MHADA board has put up many banners in this area appealing to the remaining 2,292 residents to come forward and complete the transit agreements. The MHADA officers are trying to get the eligibility survey done on a fast track.
Makarand Tasgaonkar, resident of BDD chawl told Mumbai Mirror, “Last week we visited the MHADA office and told them not to pressurise residents through private agents to vacate the BDD chawls without final agreement.” Tasgaonkar has filed many RTI regarding BDD chawl redevelopment project. He alleged, “The verbal promises made by the government and actual GRs have major disparities. This is a prime redevelopment project and we will not leave this area without having proper final rehabilitation agreements.”
Shital Mohite, one of the 268 residents who are shifted to transit buildings from N.M. Joshi Marg BDD chawl shared her plight with Mumbai Mirror. “From October 2019 we are put up in transit buildings in Lalbaug at Western Heights. These buildings are built for milk workers’ families by MHADA and few flats are reserved for transit population like us. But the problem is that the housing society is charging us parking fees. We were promised by MHADA that we only have to pay electricity charges,” Mohite added, “We are waiting for the final rehabilitation agreements. The MHADA officers misled us. I fear for my family’s future. The current transit agreement is valid for only 33 months. What will happen to us after this gets over? If the 70% residents of N.M.Joshi marg BDD Chawl have not vacated their flats then how is MHADA promising us to complete this redevelopment in three years?”, she asked.
A senior MHADA officer who is involved in BDD chawl redevelopment project (on the condition of anonymity) said that the complaints of BDD chawl residents from transit buildings are true.
“We were supposed to bring out a lottery for N.M. Joshi Marg BDD chawl residents on March 15 which could not happen due to COVID 19. After this lottery the final rehabilitation agreements were supposed to be finalised with residents who were put in transit last year. But we will do final rehabilitation agreements with all eligible occupiers of BDD chawls.” The officer hinted that those who could not pass the eligibility test would be evicted using summary powers under 95 (A) of MHADA act. “Preliminary notification was published in August 2019 and we are waiting for the final notification to be published by the Urban Development Department to start action,” he added.
Raju Waghmare of BDD Chawl Mahasangh alleged that the lottery process of MHADA is problematic. “MHADA brings out lottery when the redeveloped buildings are ready. The logic is fundamentally wrong that the final agreement will be done after the lottery. Why is MHADA not following its own rules in this project?” Waghmare questioned and said BDD chawl residents will continue to not vacate the homes at N.M.Joshi marg until they get agreements.
Once these chawls are vacated by a resident to shift in transit buildings, it is sealed by MHADA.