Two major builders in the city are fighting over the 1.68-acre Jijamata Nagar slum at Worli.
Both, DB Realty and Lokhandwala Infrastructure, are accusing each other of derailing the slum redevelopment scheme. This has caused the slum dwellers to split into two groups with each group registering police complaints against the other.
Jijamata Nagar is one of the largest slums in the island city with 3,620 houses. It is located in an area where residential projects are sold at the rate of Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000 a square foot.
On Tuesday, Mohammed Lokhandwala, chairman, Lokhandwala Infrastructure, called a press conference and accused DB Realty of trying to snatch his project. “Slum dwellers are lured with lakhs of rupees to get their consent. DB is adopting illegal methods to get my project,” he said.
Lokhandwala said that his public meeting with the slum dwellers last month was disrupted by anti-social elements allegedly hired by DB Realty. He has lodged a police complaint against the directors of the company.
DB Realty has refuted the allegations saying that the slum dwellers approached them. “The slum dwellers were tired of waiting for seven years and hence turned to us,” a spokesperson for DB Realty said. “We didn’t offer a single rupee to anyone and the entire procedure of obtaining consent was video recorded.”
Lokhandwala said he has been trying to develop this slum for the last eight years. Finally, in August 2010, the state approved of a redevelopment scheme for this settlement under section 3K (1) of the Slum Act, which allows redevelopment even without the mandatory 70% consent of the residents.
This scheme awards redevelopment rights to the first claimant and the aim was to ensure smooth implementation of schemes devised to clear schemes.
The spokesperson for DB Realty said that the slum dwellers have challenged the application of section 3K to the revamp scheme for the slum in the Bombay high court.
Both builders are partners in a revamp scheme at Byculla.