Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday scrapped two slum rehabilitation projects — in Chembur and Malad — approved by his predecessor Ashok Chavan.
The projects were under the controversial 3K (1) category of the Maharashtra Slum Areas Act 1971, in which 70% of the slum residents don’t need to give their consent for redevelopment and the state can directly award redevelopment rights to developers.
It was alleged that clearances were granted to these projects during Chavan’s tenure as caretaker CM. Clearances were issued on the morning of the day that Prithviraj Chavan took oath as CM in the evening. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kirit Somaiya had alleged that these clearances were given speedily in a day and Ashok Chavan was in the know.
On Tuesday, the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party legislators from the city urged Prithviraj Chavan to review the 3K SRA projects at a meeting at Sahyadri. They complained that certain SRA schemes passed under Section 3k (1) of the Maharashtra Slum Areas Act 1971 benefited developers. The Opposition had raised the issue in the budget session of the state legislature.
The SRA section enables a developer to approach the government with a proposal that can be approved by the housing department with directions to the SRA to issue a consent letter in favour of the developer. While other SRA schemes make it mandatory to seek consent of 70% of the residents before submission of any proposal, the 3k (1) doesn’t.
Two such projects are being redeveloped over 51.34 hectares in Malvani, Malad and 27.22 hectares in Chembur.
Sources in the housing department said Prithviraj Chavan found out that though Ashok Chavan cleared these projects in October 2010, the files did not move until November 11. That day, the government issued letters to the SRA and Letters of Intent were also issued to project developers. Around 10 officials signed the files on a single day. Four other 3K projects are underway at Golibar Maidan in Santacruz, Hanumannagar scheme in Kandivli (E), Wadala salt pan and Jijamata Nagar in Worli.