Allegations rock slum redevelopment projects in Mumbai as Devendra Fadnavis takes corrective measures
Mumbai city news: Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has cancelled changes approved by housing minister Prakash Mehta in connection with a slum projectmumbai Updated: Jul 15, 2017 00:28 IST
Slum redevelopment projects in the city have once again come under cloud after a social activist alleged that a bribe of Rs11 crore was offered to him to prevent him from revealing a slum revamp scam.
Before this, housing minister Prakash Mehta was accused of interfering in a slum project in Tardeo and former Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) chief Vishwas Patil reportedly cleared at least 120 files in the last month before his retirement. Now, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has cancelled changes approved by Mehta in connection with the project. He has also asked additional chief secretary (housing) Sanjay Kumar to submit a status report on the files cleared by Patil.
The Opposition attacked Mehta and demanded his resignation. “Mehta should resign and face a probe,” said former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan. NCP leader Dhananjay Munde criticised the government for favouring builders.
On Wednesday, social activist Sandeep Yeole alleged that he was paid Rs40 lakh by Omkar Realtors, a leading builder specialising in slum redevelopment. The firm, which has undertaken projects at Worli and Malad on slum land, said, “An amount of Rs40 lakh, which has been given to Sandeep Yeole, is the rental allowance meant for 88 slum tenants.”
Under the rules, developers provide accommodation or pay rent to slum dwellers whose houses have been demolished.
Under the slum rehabilitation scheme, a developer who is selected to revamp slum areas is required to give free houses to slum dwellers. To incentivise the scheme, the rules allow developers to build another component that can be sold in the open market. Owing to the high cost of land, slum redevelopment has become a money-spinner for many developers.
Housing activist Santosh Doundkar, who exposed several scams, said that a nexus between politicians , officials and builders was responsible for the sorry state of affairs.
With crores of rupees at stake, SRA projects are mired in corruption and irregularities. The SRA scheme was launched with an aim to clear the city of slums. In the past 21 years, only 1.53 lakh slum dwellers have been rehabilitated while 3 lakh houses are being constructed.