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Maharashtra housing scam: Pant Nagar transit camp residents awaiting homes for 18 years

Hindustan Times in an exclusive report on August 4 had detailed how Mehta planned to expand the scope of the Pant Nagar scheme

mumbai Updated: Aug 07, 2017 09:43 IST
Eeshanpriya M S
Eeshanpriya M S
Hindustan Times
Pant Nagar transit camp,Maharashtra housing scam,Prakash Mehta
A redevelopment project board at Pant Nagar transit camp in Ghatkopar.(HT)

Residents of the transit camp at Pant Nagar in Ghatkopar are uneasy and uncertain and fear their 18-year wait for homes will get even longer, in the wake of allegations of irregularities against housing minister Prakash Mehta, who had sought to expand the scope of the redevelopment project by clubbing it with six adjoining slums.

Hindustan Times in an exclusive report on August 4 had detailed how Mehta planned to expand the scope of the scheme.

Such a scheme would be beneficial to the developer chosen via higher incentive Floor Space Index (FSI). FSI is the ratio of the total buildable area to the size of the plot. It typically indicates how high and how much a developer can build on a certain plot.

Pant Nagar residents had told HT they were in touch with the real estate firm, Nirmal Holdings Private Limited, over the redevelopment project and a visit to the spot showed the firm had put up boards. The realty firm’s spokesperson had told HT they were unable to provide a response. Mehta admitted he had sought to club the transit camp project into a larger slum redevelopment scheme, but denied this was done to benefit any developer. Mehta told HT on Friday that neither the government nor Pant Nagar residents had appointed any developer for the project. He has also maintained this stance in the state legislature.

Dilip Karawade, resident of Pant Nagar, said, “The chairman of this real estate firm met us and asked if we agreed for the redevelopment of the transit camp. He told us it has been clubbed with an SRA project, and nearby slums will be given homes with transit camp residents. We opposed it, but some families have even filled and submitted the consent form.”

Namdeo Tulaskar, a Pant Nagar resident said, “We don’t understand how the developer took forms from us, if he hasn’t been appointed by the government. However, we were never shown an appointment order by the builder. So we don’t know who to trust now.”

Vijay Sukali, another resident said, “We don’t want to land up shifting from one transit camp to another. All we want is a new home, because our present houses are dilapidated.”

However, Chandrakant Ratnaparakhi, the president of Pant Nagar Sankraman Shibir Rahivashi Sangh, a society pushing for the redevelopment of Pant Nagar transit camp, said, “I had a meeting with the builder, and he assured me that he will build transit camp houses according to Mhada standards, instead of SRA standard, even though the two projects have been clubbed in this case. I don’t understand why the other residents oppose the idea.”

The redevelopment of the transit camp was handed over to Nirmal in 1999, but there was no progress till 2012, following which Mhada scrapped the contract given to this developer.

Mehta revived the whole project in 2016, expanding its scope to include six slums nearby.

First Published: Aug 07, 2017 09:42 IST