City corporators, cutting across the party lines, are opposing the state’s decision to change the reservation of beggars’ home on a prime plot of 1.14 lakh sq m at Chembur.
A beggars’ home was built on some of the plot in 1959, which is still being used. However, the state wants the civic body to dereserve the land surrounding the home for a residential zone, government offices, staff quarters and girls and boys hostel.
A delegation from the civic improvements committee has decided to meet chief minister Prithviraj Chavan asking him to rethink the decision.
The plot had been reserved for a beggars’ home in 1959. After dereservation, the beggars’ home will get only 10,000 sqm.
The proposal mooted by the Public Works Department (PWD) allows private developer, Zeal Ventures, to construct 13 buildings – including hostels, auditorium, beggars’ home, orphanage – worth Rs 334.46 crore and pay an additional premium of Rs 11.16 crore to the government for redevelopment.
In exchange, the developer will get 40,000 sqm (nine acres), where the company is likely to build a mini township of residential and commercial buildings.
The decision to develop the plot on a build-operate-transfer was taken in May 2008 by the cabinet sub-committee on infrastructure.
The process to change the zone of the plot delayed the construction. Critics have also alleged that PWD undervalued the land and has given largesse of 200% to the developer.
Nationalist Congress Party corporator Vidya Chavan objected the decision.
“One cannot forget that the city has no other place to rehabilitate the beggars,” she said.
Manoj Kotak, chairman of improvements committee and Bharatiya Janata Party corporator, said: “The state government should consider the improvements committee’s views before going ahead with the dereservation of the plot.” The city has over 4.5 lakh beggars. The beggars’ home at Chembur was started in 1959.
“The new chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, might not be aware of the facts in the case. We hope that he will reconsider the decision taken by the state government,” said Manmohan Chonkar, Shiv Sena corporator and a member of the civic improvements committee.