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Atul Patankar

Your dream home could be demolished

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Atul Patankar

As reported by Shailesh Bhatia at mid-day.com on 16 January 2011

 

Charkop flat owners could have their buildings torn down since they are built on land cleared of mangroves. What's worse, the builders knew this could happen, but withheld this vital information

 

Over 1,500 flat owners living in sectors 8 and 9 of Charkop in Kandivli West face possible eviction in spite of possessing all the legal documents and occupancy certificates for their homes.

 

Despite a 2004 Bombay High Court order that prevents construction within 50 metres of mangroves, 25 different builders cleared hundreds of acres in 2006 to construct 25 buildings.

 

Mangroves play a crucial role in preventing soil erosion, floods, and seepage of saline water in the ground water. When environmentalists brought this matter to light and took the developers to court in 2006, the builders gave an undertaking to the Bombay High Court that if the verdict went against them, they would demolish the buildings.

 

They however kept the buyers in the dark about their undertaking, and once the flats were ready, they sold them to unsuspecting customers the same year.

 

"While the verdict is still awaited, and could take another year or two, the buildings were completed and sold with occupancy certificates and other legal formalities. But the interests of the occupants have not been safeguarded.

 

"We may be left homeless if a judgment ordering the demolition is passed. We only hope that the court takes a humanitarian stand, as we were not aware of the facts at the time of purchase," said a resident of Sai Chitra (one of the buildings that face possible demolition), whose name has been withheld on request. For many, their entire life savings have gone into their dream home. Another resident of the same building invested Rs 25 lakh -- his life's earnings -- to purchase a flat in 2006. He even took a bank loan, which would take 15 years to repay. "Had I known the truth, I wouldn't have gone ahead with the purchase," he said.

 

RTI document sheds light

Meanwhile, a response to an Right to Information (RTI) application filed by resident Reji Abraham in December 2010, found that the four-storeyed Sai Baba Cooperative Housing Society, one of the 25 buildings which is under construction, was cleared by the building proposal department on the basis of relief granted by the High Court in Chamber the Summons of 2006, and the final authority for granting permissions is the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai.

 

"How can buildings like Sai Baba CHS, which are surrounded by mangroves even today, and have agreements dated 2008/ 2009, be governed by an old relief (SMD has a copy) and not the actual order, which forbids destruction of mangroves? The builders lobby is conveniently flouting all rules," said Abraham.

 

Sunday MID DAY investigation

Official papers, satellite images of mangrove destruction since 2004 and RTI responses available with Sunday Mid Day could open a can of worms, even as the civic authorities and the State Government officials, including the building proposal department, pass the buck of who is to be blamed for multiple violations of the High Court order.

 

Borivli tahsildar Vinod Rane stated that his department had not received any complaints against mangrove violation by Sai Baba Society. The final permissions of construction, he said, are given by the BMC. "If there has been any violation, I need the survey numbers, which have to be verified with the land records," he added.

 

Suburban Collector Nirmal Deshmukh stated that though he was not aware of buildings flouting mangrove rules, he would ask concerned authorities to present the appropriate documents. "This is a serious issue and we will take action if any irregularity is found," he said.

 

The BMC Building Proposal Executive Engineer Shinde said he was not in office, while Urban Development Principal Secretary TC Benjamin was unavailable for comment.

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cool_techie

Hello,

 

Is this above a possibility, considering that most of the buildings have been built on land leased from MHADA, which is a government authority. Also, this story has come up only in Mid-Day. There is no mention of the same in any other English media.

 

Regards,

Sudhir

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ppbconsulting

Hi,

The sector 8 and sector 9, people are staying from last 5 years. Electric Connection, Water Supply, Road has been constructed by MHADA and Govt Agencies.

 

I dont know why people are publishing false information.

 

Bye

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mandip.abhra

most of the buildings have already been built by MHADA and govt. agencies .

agree with above...don't publish wrong information...plzzz

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karira
Hi,

The sector 8 and sector 9, people are staying from last 5 years. Electric Connection, Water Supply, Road has been constructed by MHADA and Govt Agencies.

 

I dont know why people are publishing false information.

 

Bye

 

The above is a reproduction of a news item that appeared in Mid Day.

You can directly contact Mid-Day and rebut the contents.

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