March 15, 2021 11:58:32 pm
The Bombay High Court recently raised concerns over a large number of people being homeless at the hands of developers who delay slum rehabilitation or redevelopment projects.
The court directed the state government to respond to its suggestion of appointing a panel of “genuine and bonafide developers” to ensure that the projects are executed and residents are assured of getting a roof over their heads in a time-bound manner.
The court asked the BMC to consider revisiting its existing policy that permits errant developers to undertake such projects and inform it whether the same can be sustained.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Girish S Kulkarni made the observations on March 9 while hearing a petition filed by 37 members of a housing society through advocate M A Khan. The petition said the petitioners were tenants of the civic body as the land of the tenement they lived in belonged to the BMC.
Khan said in 2015, the members agreed to a redevelopment proposal and vacated the building on the assurance that once the new building was ready, they would get homes. However, the work was delayed and the residents became homeless. They moved the court seeking directions to the developer to complete the construction in an expedited manner.
The court said, “This is another sad state of affairs and would require a serious concern on the part of the municipal corporation as to whether such a policy, which permits the existing tenants to hand over the property of the municipal corporation (a public largesse) to such developers who are not in a position to undertake such projects, can at all be sustained. Or a new policy is required to be adopted…”
The court asked the state to ponder over whether it was not a need of the hour that the statutory authorities maintain a panel of developers registered with them whose competence to execute the project stands tested for development or redevelopment projects.
The court directed the state and the BMC to file affidavits on its suggestions and also asked Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni to appear during the next hearing on March 23.
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