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How babus, politicians get prime plots

mumbai Updated: Oct 28, 2010 01:51 IST
Dharmendra Jore
Dharmendra Jore
Hindustan Times
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If you are a politician or a bureaucrat, it isn’t tough to get a house at throwaway prices. Even in areas where those with monthly incomes of over Rs 1 lakh would be unable to afford a house.

Hundreds of serving or retired politicians, bureaucrats and police officials have managed to get expensive land at cheap rates in south and central Mumbai, Bandra, Andheri and Versova, where they have built luxurious apartments.

Revenue, urban development and housing rules favour such proposals.

The first step in making such a project a reality is the formation of a cooperative society. A combination of politicians, bureaucrats — especially those from the revenue and urban development departments, the civic body and some lower-rung officials — process the documents quickly.

The next step is to identify a suitable plot. Politicians and bureaucrats prefer plots close to the sea and government establishments, but not many such plots are available now. So, the focus is shifting to growing realty hot spots such as Wadala and Navi Mumbai.

Earlier this year, a group of bureaucrats was allotted a 13,000 sq mt plot at Wadala. Another group of bureaucrats and politicians managed to get a plot in Bandra (East) last year.

Once the land is allotted and clearances are in place, bank finance follows. Builders who want to please politicians and bureaucrats volunteer to help in the construction.

“Imagine the savings,” said a Congress leader who owns a flat in a Worli residential complex. The politician said, on condition of anonymity, that the building plans undergo several changes but these are overlooked.

“Flats are illegally combined from the inside. Some even demolish ceilings to create a duplex out of flats on different floors,” said the politician.

The high maintenance costs are taken care of by adding commercial components that are leased out. Flat owners can also rent out their property at market rates, making a killing.

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