Maharashtra housing scam: In talks with builder, say Pant Nagar residents
Hindustan Times found boards of Nirmal Properties and Holding Company at the Mumbai site, locals say firm started gathering consent for revamp projectmumbai Updated: Aug 05, 2017 11:05 IST
Even as housing minister Prakash Mehta on Friday denied his decision to expand the scope of a transit camp project at Pant Nagar into a larger slum rehabilitation scheme was to benefit any developer, on the ground HT found that at least one real estate company, Nirmal Properties and Holding Company Private Limited, had started gathering the requisite consent from residents of the Pant Nagar slums to bag the deal.
Hindustan Times found boards of the company at the Pant Nagar transit camp location and two other adjoining slum pockets. HT repeatedly tried to contact Nirmal on Friday, but did not get a response to phone calls or text messages. A spokesperson of the company said she was unable to provide a comment.
The same group of builders had been allotted an 18,902-sq-metre Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) plot in 1999 to develop a transit camp with 672 tenements. The developers had failed to build these tenements after which the allotment had been revoked by the state government in 2012.
HT in its exclusive report on Friday showed how Mehta went out of his way to revive this defunct project and expand it to include adjoining six slum pockets. Mehta held a meeting for this on January 6 and a government order to the effect was also issued on the same day.
“We were first told about clubbing of the transit camp project with a larger slum redevelopment scheme in August 2016. A meeting was organised by the Pant Nagar Sankraman Shibir Rahivashi Sangh, a society formed of transit camp residents where the chairman of Nirmal was present,’’ said Vijay Sukali, who was a member of this society, but had a falling out after this meeting.
Speaking to HT, several residents of Pant Nagar are opposed to clubbing the two different projects. Supriya Adam, a resident of the transit camp said, “We don’t want the transit camp redevelopment to be clubbed with slum redevelopment. We are the original residents of Pant Nagar, and this land is rightfully ours, given to us by Mhada over 40 years ago. The slums encroached upon this land. We will give our consent for redevelopment of the transit camp only if it is not with the slum redevelopment.” Sukali told HT, “The government is favouring the same builders who made us wait for over 12 years for the redevelopment of our transit camps.”
Work to get the mandatory 70 per cent consent has already begun in the six slum pockets proposed to be redeveloped under the SRA project. These pockets include the Saidham, Panchaganga, Maleshwar, Siddharameshwar, Sai Sauli, and the Sai Darshan slums. Radhika Ayre, who owns a house in the Sai Sauli slum, said about 85 households in her society had given their consent for rehabilitation. Her society’s residents’ committee was acquiring consent from the rest. Nirmal had approached them, proposing redevelopment of their slums, according to Ayre.
She said, “We are part of Sai Sauli society, and the builder asked us if we are okay with giving up our houses and living in high-rises. First the builder proposed that our new house will be constructed near the transit camp. We opposed that proposal. So now we have been promised our new homes will be in the same place as at present.”
Subhash Tawde, who is the president of the Sai Sauli society, said, “We have given our redevelopment work to Nirmal. They have our consent along with nine other societies.”