The Bombay high court has paved the way for the redevelopment of an old building at Bavla compound in Chinchpokli, saying there was no guarantee Mhada will finish constructing the new homes on time. Most residents of the dilapidated building in central Mumbai have been living in transit camps for nearly a decade.
A division bench of justice VM Kanade and justice Revati Mohite-Dere struck down Mhada’s decision to cancel the letter of intent it gave for the redevelopment of the Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan Co-operative Housing Society at Bavla compound, noting the occupants of the dilapidated building were languishing in transit camps for over 9 years and there was no guarantee MHADA will be able to redevelop the property on its own any time soon.
It was 10 years – after the occupants of the building were shifted to transit camps – before Mhada framed a policy in 2013. No steps have been taken thereafter, the court observed.
The Mhada-owned compound housed 280 families. After some of the structures were demolished for being dangerous, a part of the property was redeveloped and 93 families were rehoused.
Of the remaining residents, 148 continue to stay in the dilapidated buildings, while the rest are in transit camps.
In 2009, the state government had introduced a scheme for redevelopment of old and cessed Mhada buildings, after which the affected members decided to go for redevelopment under this scheme. Their proposal was accepted, and in January 2010, MHADA granted them a no objection certificate to approach a high powered committee for a letter of intent (LoI). The members of the society were given the LoI. But Mhada cancelled this in June 2014, saying the members had not taken permission from the housing department.
The society challenged the LoI cancellation saying there was no condition in the development control regulation asking them to first get permission.
The court noted the society had obtained NOCs from various government and civic departments and spent a lot in the process. The high court, therefore, held the LoI could not have been cancelled for failing to obtain an NOC from the housing department.