MUMBAI: Bombay high court on Tuesday directed MMRDA to “forthwith stop work of road-widening on a plot owned by a housing society” in Kurla (W) after it alleged that the authority took possession of 700 sq metres in a “high-handed manner’’.
The work is for an elevated road corridor from Kurla to Vakola on Santacruz-Chembur link road and MTNL junction, BKC to LBS flyover at Kurla.
Kapadia Development Coop Housing Society argued, through its counsel Rakesh Agrawal, that Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority forcibly took possession of part of its plot for the project. MMRDA counsel Akshay Shinde, admitting that road-widening was on, on the society’s plot, said it was acquired by BMC. But special counsel Anil Sakhare said the project was undertaken by MMRDA and BMC had not acquired the plot.
An HC bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and Riyaz Chagla said that if what BMC stated was correct, MMRDA was not entitled to carry out road-widening by making use of the petitioner’s plot.
HC directed MMRDA to file a detailed affidavit on what basis it submitted to court on affidavit that the plot admitted owned by the society and used for road-widening was acquired by BMC. The matter will be heard next on September 15.
The property abuts Mithi river. The society is not opposing the public project but the manner in which, taking advantage of the lockdown in April, part of its plot was “forcibly taken”.
MUMBAI: The 624 tenants of BMC colony at Vikhroli Parksite were officially informed on Saturday evening they would get a 405 sq ft ownership flat. This is the first redevelopment of an old and dilapidated building in the suburb under section 33(7)(A) of Development Control Regulations.
It will ensure that the BMC gets 3,000 flats for project-affected persons (PAPs).
Till now redevelopment of old and dilapidated buildings was restricted to the island city. Of 432 old and dilapidated buildings identified as dangerous by BMC, most are in the suburbs. Resolution of the issue comes nearly a decade after residents sought redevelopment of the decrepit buildings. The colony comprises 28 buildings spread over 16 acres.
BJP MP Manoj Kotak took the lead in sorting out the issue. “When the residents approached me I took up the matter and worked on a solution. BMC will appoint a contractor to carry out construction. BMC benefits as otherwise the PAP component would have become sale component benefiting the developer,” he said. PAP tenements will be used to rehabilitate those living on nullahs, those affected by Metro rail, road-widening and other infrastructure projects.
Rajesh Gala, a resident of the colony, said it was a huge relief as their buildings are in very bad condition. “For 10 years, we were pursuing the matter with elected representatives. Six months back we met Kotak, who resolved the issue,” he said.
Deputy municipal commissioner Ramesh Pawar said BMC has constructed a transit camp on open space in the colony. “The proposal needs the standing committee’s approval. We will move residents in phases into transit buildings and once few buildings are ready, we will shift them to their new homes,” he said. This also takes care of rent.
Pednekar on Monday held a review meeting following recent house collapses, including Mishra building in Nagpada. Pednekar told officials to cut off electricity and water supply to buildings where lives of residents are at risk.
This, she said was necessary, so BMC has records of having warned residents about the precarious condition of the building and danger to their lives. BMC has repeatedly faced flak for not doing enough to warn residents to vacate such buildings.
She urged civic officials to consider proposals of redevelopment where landlords and tenants have come together. If hurdles are being created by the landlord or developer, Pednekar said officials must book them under the stringent Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act.
There are 432 old and dilapidated buildings (c-1) across the city. Surprisingly most are in H(W ) ward, which is Bandra (West) and in T ward (Mulund). In both wards, around 50 buildings are on the list on BMC’s portal.
MUMBAI: From finding their newly-constructed Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) flats in Mulund turned into shelters for stranded migrant labourers and then into a quarantine centre for high-risk contacts of Covid-19 patients, 450 families have been left to fend for themselves for the past four months.
The families have accused the builder of skipping out on payment of their transit rents since January— which the developer has disputed— and there is no word on when they will be allowed to move into their homes.
Aashirwad and Siddharth Nagar SRA Societies in Bhimwadi were taken up for redevelopment by Riddhi Siddhi Corporation 11 years ago under the SRA’s slum rehabilitation scheme, and all 450 flats were ready by March this year.
No sooner was the occupancy certificate approved than the lockdown came into force. That same month, the suburban collector converted the buildings into a transit shelter for migrant labourers amid a countrywide mass exodus.
“In May, the BMC took over the buildings to set up a quarantine centre for high-risk contacts of nearby slumdwellers,” said local BJP MLA Mihir Kotecha. Of the 450 flats, 70 are currently occupied by around 160 people under quarantine.
The takeover was part of the BMC’s mega Covid-19 preparation plan as cases continued to soar. Many agencies turned over vacant housing projects to the civic body to be used as quarantine or isolation centres; the SRA handed over 2,080 housing units in May.
Harish Vaghela, one of the flat owners, said a number of the SRA project’s beneficiaries have not been able to make their rental payments since January, when the builder, he claimed, abandoned them.
“All we are asking for is payment of the pending rents and to be allowed to move into our flats,” said the 40-year-old who resides nearby. “We only want what is rightfully ours.”
Shankarlal Mittal of Riddhi Siddhi Corporation refuted the charge of abandonment. “We paid rents for 11 years without any default. All payments till March have been made… The occupancy certificate was ready to be issued when the lockdown came into force. There is no clarity on when we will get the buildings back. Once the disinfected buildings are handed back to us, we give possession to the families in 10 days. The delay in possession is not due to our fault.”
Kishore Gandhi, assistant municipal commissioner of T-ward under which Mulund falls, said since the acquisition was made by the suburban collector’s office, it takes the call on when to hand the buildings back. “We started using the flats only in May. In fact, we completed a lot of pending work like installation of geysers, lights and fans, and plumbing. So far, no one has asked us to return the flats—the builder, the SRA or the suburban collector. We can evacuate the premises and make alternate arrangements for the current occupants as soon as we are asked to.”
Suburban Collector Milind Borikar sounded surprised by the BMC’s willingness to vacate the premises. “If it doesn’t want the buildings and can it convey it to me in writing, I will give the buildings back to the SRA for allotment to the eligible slumdwellers.”