Mumbai: As Monarch Estate stakes claim SRA stays Dongarbaba slum project again – ET RealEstate

MUMBAI: After a two-decade wait for decent homes, Mazgaon’s Dongarbaba slum residents stare at an uncertain future. The Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) has stayed the redevelopment scheme having approved it earlier as the original developer has again staked claim to the project.

In January 2020, the SRA conducted a secret ballot with biometrics and approved Alamdar Infrastructure selected by the residents—78% had voted in favour—for the redevelopment project. The developer was issued no-objection certificates by SRA’s engineering, town planning, finance, and assistant registrar’s offices. The SRA even issued a letter directing the developer to obtain an NOC from the collector’s office as the slum is on government land.

But, last week, the SRA executive engineer informed Alamdar Infrastructure that the scheme has been recorded—meaning closed—as Monarch Estate and Developers, that had originally initiated the redevelopment project in 2001, had re-submitted documents for approval in November 2019. The letter stated that after scrutinising Monarch Estate and Developers’ proposal and based on a 2001 Bombay high court judgment, the first claim belongs to the original developer. It also stated that the present redevelopment scheme is being recorded on the CEO’s directions.

Monarch Estate and Developers, in its submission to the SRA, said its 2001 scheme could not be carried out due to an HC stay on all redevelopment projects on plots reserved as open spaces. The developer further claimed that the SRA closed the scheme in 2010 based on the slumdwellers’ complaints without giving him an opportunity to present his side. He claimed 36 of the 66 residents had given their consent and an Annexure II had also been issued for the scheme. This claim has been upheld by the SRA legal department, which states that as per the 2011 HC order, the authority must scrutinise a proposal and the file was wrongfully closed.

While Mumbai aspires to become a slum-free city and the slumdwellers pine for a decent home, SRA officials meant to facilitate these appear to be working otherwise to frustrate these very aspirations by highly selective reading of documents. How long can the city and slum dwellers wait? Strong and exemplary action must be taken against such SRA officials found to be colluding with developers to serve as a deterrent for the future.Times View

However, SRA documents show that Monarch Estate and Developers was issued a show-cause notice in December 2010 and given a fortnight to reply why the scheme was not making any progress. In January 2011, the then CEO of SRA noted: “Since hearing notice was issued and developer has chosen to remain absent, scheme may be recorded.” Clearly, the legal department does not seem to have read these documents.On Monday, the SRA stayed the reopening of the files of Monarch Estate and Developers and the closure of the current redevelopment scheme after the slumdwellers stormed the SRA office and protested. Housing minister Jitendra Awhad said the builder was being provided an opportunity to present his side as per the HC order. “The case will be examined and if the HC order does not apply, we shall not allow it.”

Satish Lokhande, SRA CEO, said he has called for a hearing on February 1, where both developers and slumdwellers will be given an opportunity to present their case. “I shall hold a review and take a decision,” he said.



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Rehabilitation plan nearly in place for Kamgar Putala slum pocket residents – ET RealEstate

PUNE: More than 900 families from the Kamgar Putala slum pocket, near Civil Court, have completed the basic formalities needed for rehabilitation. The land they vacate would be used for the Pune Metro rail project.

Nearly 300 families are holding out on completing the formalities. The authorities said they were holding talks with the families to end the deadlock.

Nitin Udas, deputy commissioner, Pune Municipal Corporation, who has been handling the matter from the start, said the slum dwellers have demanded that they be rehabilitated in the same area, a demand that was not possible to meet.

Udas said they have nearly completed the process of scrutinizing the paperwork. “We expect the remaining process to be completed in a few days,” Udas said.

The land is crucial for the Metro project — pillars and an elevated Metro station on the Vanaz-Ramwadi corridor are planned in this location. Some portion of the land is also required for the Hinjewadi-Shivajinagar Metro corridor, being developed by Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority.

“We have identified various locations for the residents’ rehabilitation. We have displayed these details in the locality. We are waiting for the residents’ response,” a PMC official said.

Since the process to acquire the land started last October, a series of meetings were held at various levels, including two with deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, to break the impasse. Pawar has directed PMC, the slum rehabilitation authority and Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MahaMetro) to work out a solution.

The Metro viaduct has already been constructed till the Kamgar Putala and the Rajiv Gandhi Vasahat area. The plan is to construct 10 pillars and a portion of the elevated Metro station in the existing slum area.

“We are offering the necessary assistance to the civic administration in this process. We will begin the work only after the land is formally handed over to MahaMetro,” a MahaMetro official said.



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Mumbai: Over 1,500 slum dwellers in Colaba may be rehabilitated in a SRA project – ET RealEstate

MUMBAI: Over 1,500 families who lived at Cuffe Parade’s Ambedkar Nagar, whose hutments were demolished in 2017 for allegedly coming up on mangrove land, can expect some relief as the Maha Vikas Aghadi government has set up a committee for their rehabilitation. The committee will examine if these slum dwellers can be rehabilitated in a Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) project in neighbouring Ambedkar Nagar or could be housed at another location.

The state’s Revenue and Forest department on Thursday issued orders to form a committee headed by SVR Srinivas, Principal Secretary (Housing) to check the eligibility of these slum dwellers for rehabilitation. Apart from Srinivas, Principal Secretary, Forests, Milind Mhaiskar, SRA CEO Satish Lokhande and Mumbai City Collector Rajeev Nivatkar are also part of the committee along with officials from the state’s Mangrove Cell.

According to officials, in 2015, a notice was served to the 1,500 families to vacate their houses. However, no action was taken after the notice was issued. Then on May 1, 2017, an announcement on loudspeaker was made in the slum. On May 3, the demolition was carried out, and the 1,500 hutments were demolished.

“The committee has been set up as per the directions of the State Human Rights Commission. It will check the documents and papers of all the 1,500 families since they have claimed that they had proof of residence and that their slums were not on mangrove land. All these claims will be verified and the committee will submit a report on if and how these slum dwellers can be rehabilitated,” said a senior bureaucrat. Many residents who lost their homes had claimed that the slums were constructed in the 1990s way before the cut off date of 2011 for protected slums. The forest department claimed the demolished area was in fact mangroves and was encroached by slum-dwellers, the bureaucrat added.

After hearing the matter for over two years, the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission in its order this January had said that the eviction process continued for four days and residents underwent “physical, mental trauma, financial loss and most importantly their right to shelter”. The commission, headed by M A Sayeed, had directed the state Chief Secretary to form a committee of officials from forest department, revenue department, Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority and SRA to formulate a rehabilitation plan for the affected families.

Rahul Narvekar, BJP MLA from Colaba said that local elected representatives must be made part of the committee. “It is unfair that no people’s representatives are part of this committee. There should be sustainable housing for these slum dwellers. The environment and mangroves must be protected but at the same time since they were living there for over 15 years, these slum dwellers must be rehabilitated,” Narwekar said. “However, the authorities must ensure that there is no further encroachment at the site from now on. The mangroves must be protected at all cost,” Narwekar said.



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