Cracking the whip on slum redevelopment projects cleared under the controversial 3 K clause of the slum rehabilitation scheme, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has cancelled approvals granted to two major projects across 51.34 hectares in Malvani, Malad, and 27.22 hectares in Chembur, respectively.
The 3 K clause confers on the state powers to give directives to the slum rehabilitation authority on any policy decision (see box). Senior officials said that Chavan cancelled the approvals on the basis of a hearing given to the developers by the state housing secretary, Gautam Chatterjee.
“These projects had been stayed last year, following which the developers had moved the high court. The court asked us to grant them a hearing. We gave them a hearing and then cancelled the approvals given to these projects,” said Chavan, in his reply on the debate on corruption, in the state assembly last week.
The final approvals for these two projects, being developed by Lashkaria Developers and Sterling Buildcon, were issued on the day Chavan took over as the chief minister on November 11 last year, without his knowledge. “The state government is of the opinion that this 3 K clause was misinterpreted and misused to favour some builders. There is no need to drop or remove the clause but it will not be used to clear projects in the future,’’ said a senior bureaucrat. He added that the remaining four projects were under scrutiny and would have to eventually face some action or the other. For instance, in the case of a BMC project in Worli, where the state had earlier approved Lokhandwala Developers as the developer, the government has now reversed the approval. The government has written to the BMC saying it is free to select a developer for its project.
From 2008 to 2010, the state government cleared six slum redevelopment projects under the 3 K clause. This clause was misused to give directives to hand over large sprawls of slums to a developer for redevelopment on a first come first served basis without inviting competitive bids or even ensuring the mandatory 70 per cent consent of residents in the initial stages.
Nearly 533 acres of land was parceled off to six developers in the city for redevelopment. These projects could have led to a windfall of Rs 31,500 crore as profit to the developers.