Maha Housing Authority to file cases against builders
State housing body MHADA will soon file cheating against those builders who have not shared apartments with it despite having availed incentives from the government for the redevelopment of dilapidated buildings from Colaba to Sion and Mahim.
Ravindra Waikar, minister of state for housing, has directed the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) to get FIRs registered against developers in 456 cases, a move that is likely to turn up the heat on unscrupulous builders in the city.
The irregularities pertain to the redevelopment of cessed buildings in the island city. Cessed structures are mostly those buildings that had been built in the first half of the last century and whose rents have been frozen under Rent Control Act.
With a pittance as rent, the owners lost interest in maintaining these properties, many of which are in prime locations. Subsequently, these buildings were handed over to MHADA for repairs and maintenance. MHADA, in turn, collects a levy on rent from the tenants of these buildings.
Earlier, there were 22,000 such buildings in the island city – Colaba and Nariman Point in the south and Mahim and Sion in the north. Of these, nearly 2,000 were redeveloped by MHADA and 4,000 by private developers.
Builders get extra FSI – floor space index which allows a developer to add more floors to a project – for redeveloping these buildings on the condition that they have to hand over a pre-decided percentage of constructed flats to MHADA free of cost.
Waikar said the 456 cases date back to 2006 and flats with a collective area of nearly 1.51 lakh square metres – nearly 3,231 flats each with an area 500 sq ft – were never handed over to MHADA. Instead, they were sold in the open market.
Market analysts estimate the cost of the developed space gobbled by the builders at Rs 5,000 crore. The fraud was brought to light by social activist Kamlakar Shenoy through information obtained under RTI (right to information). Mirror had reported the case in August last year.
The minister told “Now I have asked MHADA to get FIRs registered in relevant police stations against the builders concerned. I have also ordered a departmental probe against MHADA officials who were hand in glove with these builders and did not pursue the issue of getting flats back to MHADA.”