Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray on Monday threatened to forcibly occupy Mantralaya and ministers’ bungalows if the state government fails to speed up the redevelopment of 56 Mhada (Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority) colonies.
“We will start the agitation if we do not get justice in the October 11 meeting [with Mhada],” said Thackeray while addressing partymen who had marched to Mhada headquarters in BKC demanding the authority repeal the rule for builders to compulsorily hand over flats to the housing body as compensation for undertaking the revamp of its colonies.
Earlier, builders could pay a premium on Mhada’s share, instead of handing over the flats, which they could then sell in the open market. The Sena’s contention is that this rule is making redevelopment unviable.
Thackeray also ran down Mhada for asserting it would redevelop these colonies on its own by alleging the quality of construction undertaken by the housing body is inferior.
Mhada refuted the allegations and said the current formula is the best to generate new affordable houses. “We are as good as any builder and our recent constructions have been the best,” said Satish Gawai, vice president, MHADA. “This is our land on which we had built affordable houses, and now we are shifting the existing tenants to bigger houses, and also trying to generate more houses for other needy people. What’s wrong in it?”
Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam countered Sena, saying it was a veiled effort to prop up builders. “Sena leaders are backing developers and not residents [of old Mhada buildings],” Nirupam told reporters at Mantralaya, where Sena leaders met chief minister Chavan.
Sena leader Subhash Desai dismissed Nirupam’s allegations. “He does not have any moral right to intervene as he himself is a developer.”