As top developers are competing with each other to bag the redevelopment rights of the 128-acre Motilal Nagar in Goregaon (West), the residents of the colony have now come together to decide the fate of the project.
On the golden jubilee of the colony, which was then inaugurated by India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1961, the residents have floated an organisation 'Motilal Nagar Bachao Samitee' (Save Motilal Nagar).
Talking to Hindustan Times, Yuvraj Mohite, convener of the samitee, said the organisation was formed due to the menace unleashed by the builders' lobby. "To gain the developmental rights, builders have pitted residents against each other and spoiled the entire social fabric of this colony," said Mohite. "But now we residents will decide the fate of our colony and not the builders."
Similar are the views of Ramesh Shinde, 78, one of the first residents of the colony, who claimed that the bonhomie of the colony had been disrupted.
There are 3,828 tenants in the colony and a majority of the houses are of 200 sq ft in size.
Mohite said the first task before the samitee would be providing technical support to residents for issues such as formation of societies, payment of lease rents as well as applications for conveyance of properties in their names.
The builders vying to get this property include RNA Corp, Housing Development and Infrastructure Limited (HDIL), Vichare Group and AP Group.
Last October, HDIL submitted a proposal to Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) under the unique Swiss Challenge System where it proposed to offer the housing authority16,541 low-cost apartments in return of allowing it to revamp the colony.
However, builders dismiss any irregularities in obtaining consents. "Considering the magnitude of this project, there is bound to be competitions and delays. Nothing illegal is being done by us," said Manoj John, vice-chairman, corporate planning and strategy, RNA Corp.