As the deadline for the demolition of illegal alterations in the MHADA colonies along the Andheri-Versova-Jogeshwari belt nears, developers are coming up with different offers to convince residents to part with their redevelopment rights.
"The court has ordered us to raze the illegal alterations made in the structures. Several well-known developers have offered us a compensation of the rental for six months and are also willing to provide resources to raze the structures if we grant them the right to redevelop our structures," said Sudhakar Ahire, a resident.
Last year, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) identified 98 MHADA colonies possessing 4,232 plots with illegal alterations in the Andheri-Versova-Jogeshwari belt. Despite being allotted a ground-floor structure, the residents had constructed one more floor on it without seeking the requisite permission. As a temporary reprieve, the court allowed residents to undertake the demolition on their own by April 30.
Housing activists, however, are of the opinion that the scenario has been created to suit the builders' lobby. "Targetting MHADA colonies only while illegal constructions continue to thrive across the city seems like a conspiracy. The drive has been designed in a manner to benefit the developers," said Shreedhar Sharma, chairman, Revathy Foundation, an
NGO that deals with housing sector-related issues.
Meanwhile, Sanjay Nirupam, Member of Parliament (MP), said: "The developers are bound to take advantage of the situation. Ideally, the alterations should be regularised as the residents have been using the space for years. We should encourage the residents to undertake the redevelopment. The residents should be granted Floor
Space Index (FSI) of 2.5 each so as to regularise these structures." Nirupam has also written to the chief minister Prithviraj Chavan to take a humanitarian view of the situation.
Post the allotment of 2.5 FSI as redevelopment incentive and with its size, MHADA colonies are being perceived as a gold mine. FSI is the maximum buildable area allowed in the particular plot of land.