Alleging that officials from the state housing board have allowed people who never lived in dilapidated cessed buildings for whom its transit camps are meant to settle in these sprawls,Arvind Kejriwals Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has called for the legalisation of such occupants.
Anjali Damania,an AAP volunteer,said in a press meet Tuesday there were close to 14,000 families living in different transit camps across the city who have been termed illegal occupants by the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA).
She claimed that Prasad Lad,chairman of MHADAs Mumbai repair and reconstruction board,had assured her party that he had written to the chief minister last week calling for an all-party meeting to look into the issue.
It is true that these families were never the original occupants of transit camps. However,it is important to understand that the original occupants lived in inhuman conditions at the camps. Some had to shift cities or were fed up and moved out. While doing so,they sold their rights to the accommodation to someone else, Damania said.
The occupants are illegal because MHADA transit tenements are not allowed to be sold, Lad said,adding that the state will make a policy decision on this matter soon.
Brokers lure families to buy rooms in transit camps and even take them to the MHADA office to sign papers. Proper rent receipts are given. These people are not well versed with the technicalities,formalities and aspects of the law. So how can MHADA say that they have encroached the transit camps? Damania said.
She added that the occupants are ready to pay a penalty.
As per replies received by AAP to a Right to Information request,MHADA has currently handed out contracts for the redevelopment of 14 transit camps to BG Shirke Construction Technology Private Ltd. These include camps at Cuffe Parade,Kannamwar Nagar,Antop Hill,Gorai,Mahim fishermen colony and so on.
Lad said,We are not favouring any developer. We have undertaken redevelopment work at transit camps because we are getting a higher FSI there. These are 160-180 square feet rooms in the transit camps now. We plan to build 300 square-feet tenements there.
These dilapidated homes in transit camps are being snatched away to benefit the builder who has the redevelopment contracts. Shirke Constructions makes repeated attempts to demolish homes,despite court orders disallowing demolitions in the rain. In some places,Shirke has cut off water supply and electricity, said Damania in a press statement.