INDIA: A mega rehabilitation housing project located at Goregaon West in North Mumbai, stalled for well over 13 years due to a fraud committed by the original developer, was inaugurated online by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday evening.
Under the project being undertaken by Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), nearly 672 tenants of Patra Chawl (Plot No R-09) ( Siddharth Nagar) will be given dwellings admeasuring 650 square feet of carpet area (plus 117 square feet open area) on an ownership basis.
Thackeray said that the MVA government had solved this vexed issue with utmost priority in his speech. All that is expected of the beneficiaries is that they should not sell their flats, which they will be getting after a long, relentless struggle.
Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad said that henceforth there would not be a tripartite agreement between tenants, MHADA, and developers. There will be only an agreement between MHADA and the developer. Subsequently, the MHADA will not sell its land. MHADA has a substantial land bank, and by undertaking the development work directly, it can generate over Rs 3500 crore revenue. Besides Siddharth Nagar, the MHADA has nearly 143 acres of land at neighboring Motilal Nagar, which, if properly developed, can provide shelter to over one lakh people.
Awhad said that the state government plans to construct a hostel in Navi Mumbai where about 500 students (boys and girls) can be accommodated. Also, a hostel for working women will be built at Tardeo in south Mumbai, which will be equipped to accommodate 500 women. The MHADA is also planning to construct a hospital on two and a half acre land in Goregaon itself, and it will be for the first time in the last 60 years the state government will construct such a hospital. An arrangement to accommodate nearly 100 relatives of cancer patients, who usually hang outside Tata Cancer Hospital in Central Mumbai, has been made. Also, over 200 houses have been constructed to rehabilitate those affected by the cyclone in Taliye village in Mahad (Raigad) in the recent past.
Awhad also announced that the dishoused tenants of Patra Chawl, who have vacated their tenements and who are not receiving the rent for the houses they have hired, will receive the rent from first March onwards. He said that many developers, including RNA Developers, have kept the projects incomplete and kept the tenants on tenterhooks for several years. That is the reason people are afraid of rehab/redevelopment. But subsequently, the Government will ensure that no such fear exists among people, and strict action will be taken against erring developers.
Goregaon Siddharth Nagar Gruhnirman Maryadit President Rajesh Dalvi said that “this is a big day since we are seeing hopes after many years. We lost over 200 people, in this long struggle. Every household is yet to receive more than Rs.25 lakh in rent from the developer”.
On occasion, NCP Chief Sharad Pawar broke the traditional coconut to mark the project’s inauguration. He urged Awhad and all in the Government to look after police housing.
Patra Chawl was originally a barrack constructed by the British Government during World War II. The tenants lived in a 265 sq ft area. The rehab of the Patra chawl spread over 13.18-acre land was to be carried out as per the tripartite agreement between the tenants, MHADA, and Guruashish Construction Private Limited. However, the project was delayed inordinately, and the Guruashish illegally sold the plot to different developers. When they came to know about the reality, they moved the court. The Maharashtra Government won the case in the Bombay high court and went ahead with the rehab project. The MHADA issued a termination notice to the developer on January 12, 2018.
On June 23, 2021, the state government decided to entrust the new developer- Relcon Infrastructure, based on a report prepared by former Maharashtra Chief Secretary Johny Joseph. The tenders were invited based on the report’s recommendations designed by the Mumbai-based VJTI. The cost of the project is in the region of Rs 143 crore. The Relcon Infrastructure has carried out some prestigious projects across the country, including residential and hostel buildings for IIT Gandhinagar (Gujarat), the iconic tower for MMRDA in Mumbai Income Tax Headquarters at Ahmedabad (Gujarat), among others.
A host of leaders who attended the inaugural function included: Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Ministers-Subhash Desai, Balasaheb Thorat, Satej Patil, Aslam Shaikh, MP Priyanka Chaturvedi, Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar, legislators- Kapil Patil, Vidya Thakur, Vidya Chavan, and Vilas Potnis, Principal Secretary (Housing) Milind Mhaiskar, Mumbai Building Repair, and Reconstruction Board Chairman Vinod Ghosalkar, MHADA VP and CEO Anil Diggikar and Mumbai Board Vice Chairman Yogesh Mhase.