Shiv Sena legislator Suresh Jain’s arrest in the Jalgaon housing scam has brought Shivshahi Punarvasan Prakalp Limited (SPPL) into focus. SPPL disbursed loans to builders to execute slum redevelopment schemes. Jain was the housing minister during the saffron rule and was responsible for disbursing these loans worth Rs73 crore despite objections from various quarters.
Anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare has now demanded a probe into the Shivshahi scheme. “The role of Jain in SPPL should be probed,” Hazare said.
SPPL was formed on September 25, 1998 to rehabilitate slum-dwellers, but instead went on to loans huge amounts to various builders to execute their slum redevelopment projects. SSPL had sanctioned Rs586 crore, but could allot just Rs73 crore to the builders.
The Tinaikar Committee as well as the State Accountant General found various irregularities in its functioning. “Builders raked in crores riding on public money,” said housing activist Santosh Daundkar. “We could have gained money as well as houses if the state had been the developer and builders were appointed on contract.”
However, Vimal Shah, managing director, Hubtown, said the loans were much needed. “The realty market was in recession till 2003, and we took loans at high interest. The money was repaid with interest,” Shah added. The interest charged to the builders was 17.5%, which was then reduced to 10%. Hubtown was previously Ackruti Nirman Limited, which benefited from the SSPL’s largesse.
“The slum rehabilitation scheme was slow, numbering just 8,000 houses and needed a push,” Shah said. In 1999, when the Democratic Front government took over, SPPL was rendered toothless. The state government instructed SPPL not to allot any money nor undertake any projects.