Mumbai builders faking tenants’ list to erect towers: NGO
Several builders redeveloping old and dilapidated buildings are allegedly misusing floor space index (FSI) by showing bogus tenants so that they can build higher, said a report prepared by city NGO Janhit Manch and submitted to the chief minister recently.
The report confirms what has long been common knowledge; builders inflate the list of tenants to be rehabilitated free of cost in new buildings. The higher the number of tenants, the more FSI the builders get.
“There is no question of bog us tenancies. The voter list, rent receipts and other documents are verified before the tenants’ list is prepared,” said Mhada CEO Sambhaji Zende-Patil. The cross-subsidy scheme was introduced when Sena’s Manohar Joshi was CM in the mid-1990s. Builders get 50% extra construction incentive for tenants they must rehouse. The scheme is implemented by Mhada. “Newly created bogus tenants are allotted premises only on paper to comply with the Mhada NOC. These tenants never get physical possession of any premises. The premises are actually sold to outsiders at market rate,” said Janhit Manch, which has filed PILs against illegal constructions in skyscrapers.
In Malabar Hill and Nepean Sea Road, many such buildings have been constructed and are now occupied by the super-rich. “More apartments for sale in the market are achieved by creating non-existent and fictitious occupants,” it said.
Zende-Patil said Mhada is generally confronted with “ownership disputes” within families living in tenanted properties. “But if concrete cases of bogus tenancies are shown to us, we will check,” he said.
“We have been fighting against these irregularities since 15-20 years. It is rampant and authorities do not act because they are hand-in-glove with the builders,” said housing activist Chandrashekhar Prabhu.
“It’s a major scam. Bona fide tenants are ousted from their tenements by builders,” said Utsal Karani of Janhit Manch.
“After ousting the original tenants, developers transfer tenancies to entities controlled by them. Thereafter, a proposal for redevelopment is submitted to “rehabilitate“ these bogus tenants or corporate entities to get more FSI,” he said.
“None of the newly created tenants or entities ever occupied the old buildings nor will they occupy the new towers. The luxury flats will be sold to the super-rich,” said Karani.