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Atul Patankar

Rs 175 per sq ft for Borivli plot

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Atul Patankar

As reported by Varun SIngh at mid-day.com on 17 Sept 2010

 

That's the rate at which housing society got collector's 3,080-sq-ft disputed land

 

A 3,080-ft plot in the prime location of LT Road in Borivli (W) was given away by the government to a housing society for a throwaway price of Rs 5,39,000. This comes to a measly Rs 175 per sq ft, when the going rate in the area is between Rs 8,000 and Rs 10,000 per sq ft.

 

The land belongs to the collector and it has been given to a group of 11 members under the banner Swami Samarth Co-operative Housing Society Ltd. RTI documents available with MiD DAY show that nine of the 11 members are government officials and one works in a nationalised bank and the other in a semi-government organisation.

 

The deal, according to papers available with MiD DAY, was finalised in October last year. However, the name of the society was put on the property card in February this year. According to the collector, the land has been leased to the society with rights of occupancy and development.

 

The Bhandari family, who occupy a small portion on the controversial land, have taken this matter to court. Advocate Vinod Sampat, who is representing the Bhandaris, said, "The land has been occupied by a family for nearly 40 years. The government has to first acquire the property to allot it to someone else, which was not done. The government in a haste has handed over the property to some co-operative society and that too at throwaway prices."

 

The Bhandaris say

The Bhandaris claim that they have been staying on the same land for the last 40 years. "The electricity bill, the property tax receipt, ration card and other important documents bear the family's names. How can the government one day decide to give away the land to someone else, without informing us? A few men came to survey the property in August, after which we approached the court, which ordered a stay on the whole thing," said Rakesh Shetty, legal advisor for the Bhandaris.

 

Shetty further added, "The Bhandaris also own a small flower shop in the premises, for which they have the required licences and permissions."

 

Shetty further claims that when they investigated about the members of Swami Samarth Society, they found that they already have flats in their names.

 

"These people want to develop a building over here and exploit it commercially and even destroy the garden within the premises, along with nearly 25 trees that are decades old," he added.

 

The law states that if one has a house in their name in Mumbai limits, the person cannot avail of any housing scheme under the government.

 

The Other Side

Collector (Suburbs), Mumbai, Nirmal Kumar Deshmukh, believes there is nothing wrong with the whole deal.

 

He said, "There are certain clauses under which the government can allot land to co-operative societies at a concession. In this case too, the government has allotted the plot to the society under the same rule."

 

When MiD DAY asked him if he knew who the members were and whether he was aware that there are allegations that some members already owned flats, he said, "The moment there are complaints against any of the members, I will surely initiate action," said Deshmukh.

 

Vaishali Vaid, one of the members of Swami Samarth, who owns a house in Borivli, said, "I am not the only member.

 

Why don't you talk to the secretary?" When asked to provide the secretary's phone number, she said she didn't have it.

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