The Maharashtra government has decided to bring in ordinance that will empower them to acquire government-owned land forcefully, to ensure that redevelopment on that land can take place smoothly.
According to the Maharashtra housing department, they are facing acute resistance from some of the tenants of BDD Chawl in South Mumbai. “Most of the tenants have agreed to hand over their residence for redevelopment. Post which, they will get 500 sq ft carpet area. We are also providing them transit facility till the new towers are not constructed. However, few residence are opposing the acquisition of the BDD land. They are demanding more than 500 sq ft of carpet area and other facilities that cannot be given,” said Prakash Mehta, housing minister.
Mehta said that they are planning to bring in the ordinance so that the government can acquire the property (government-owned) forcefully for smooth and hassle-free redevelopment. “We do not want to see a mega project like BDD stuck due to opposition by a few people. This project can generate over 13,000 additional houses. These houses can be sold in the open market through MHADA,” Mehta said.
Raju Waghmare, Congress spokesperson and resident of BDD Chawl, said that the state government is misguiding tenants of BDD Chawl. “If they forcefully evict us, then we will go to court,” he said.
He said that if the government is not ready to sign the agreement with tenants of BDD, then how they can believe that government that will give them constructed 500 sq ft houses. “A total of 11,500 tenants, 4,500 police and 500 public works department employees are staying in these BDD Chawls. They have been staying here for past five generations. As per MHADA’s 305 clause, tenants of BDD chawls should get 685 sq ft carpet area, against the government offered mere 500 sq ft. We want to see this redevelopment done in a transparent manner,” said Waghmare.
He further said that they have been maintaining these BDD buildings by making their own contributions. “We had not allowed any sort of encroachment over this prime land. The Government is also asking us to provide pre-1996 residential proof for these chawls. If some one has bought a room in BDD recently, or the room has not yet been transferred in the children’s names after the demise of their parent, then it will be very difficult to provide pre-1996 evidence of residence. The Government should sit with the tenants and sort all these chronic issues,” Waghmare added.
Another resident of BBD chawl, Makrand Tasgaonkar said that government representatives had quite recently called for a meeting with police tenants of this chawl. “However, very few people turned up for this meeting. People have lost faith in this government, and its murky redevelopment process,” Tasgaonkar said.