Mumbai Mirror: Mumbai: Wednesday, March 08, 2017.
The issue brought to light by social activist Kamlakar Shenoy last year.
Ravindra Waikar, minister of state for housing, has announced a probe by Special Investigation Team (SIT) into the issue of builders not giving nearly 5,0000 flats to Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) admeasuring nearly 1.25 lakh square meters and worth more than Rs 6,000 crore.
Waikar made the announcement while replying to a question raised by BJP’s city unit president and legislator Ashish Shelar in the assembly on Tuesday.
“Only in 33 cases approximately 1,250 flats admesuring 31,319 sq.mt were handed over to MHADA by builders. In rest of the cases, these flats were sold in open markets.
“The SIT will not only probe private builders, but also MHADA officials whose mistakes of commission and omission resulted in such a huge loss to the agency.” MHADA, said Waikar, would withdraw permission for redeveloping cessed building in which builders have not been able to carry out redevelopment for more than 10 years.
The issue, which was brought to light by social activist Kamlakar Shenoy through an RTI, was first reported by Mirror in August last year. Last week this newspaper also wrote about a PIL filed by Shenoy in Bombay high court demanding FIR against MHADA officials and builders. Following the petition, the court has has asked Director General of Police (Anti-Corruption), Mumbai’s Police Commissioner and housing secretary of state government to file their response their responses by 14th of this month.
The cessed buildings are those structures that were built in the first half of the last century. Rents in the buildings are protected under Rent Control Act. As rents were frozen, owners lost interest in maintaining these buildings. Subsequently, these buildings were handed over to MHADA for repairs and maintenance, and in return, MHADA collects cess on rent from tenants of these buildings.