Peeved by the state government’s failure to implement its own decision of making housing societies “freehold” owners of government-granted lands on which they stand, residents of these societies on Tuesday threatened to agitate against the collector. The delay, angry residents claim, is not only hampering the redevelopment of these housing societies but is also preventing them from selling their flats. Shivsrusthi Association of Co-operative Housing Societies Ltd. (An association of 37 co-operative housing societies) has decided to make representations before various political leaders including Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray seeking their help.
There are at least 3,000 such housing societies in Mumbai waiting for land on which their building stands to be converted to freehold land.
These housing societies have been campaigning and making representations with various state government officials and collector to make these plots freehold since 2011. In April 2016, the state government issued a notification, accepting the demand and announced to make the housing societies class I occupants of the land on which they are located. Subsequently, the state government amended the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code 1966 in its monsoon session of the state assembly. However, it just remained on paper according to residents, the implementation is still pending.
There are over 20,000 such societies spread across the state. The state government allotted land to many cooperative housing societies in and around Mumbai between 1950s and 1980s to promote “cooperation movement” in the state. However, these societies were not given status of class I (freehold) occupants of the land and instead classified as class II. The class II occupants have to abide by regulations like housing complexes must be built on the plots within three years of allotment; if any member of the society sells a flat, the owner must take prior permission from the government and pay transfer fee to government; if the society wants to sell its land to another person, then it must take permission from the government and so on.
“A committee of eight members was appointed under the principal secretary of the land revenue department to decide the premium amount to be charged from these societies. Almost two years have passed since then, but no report has been submitted to the government by this committee. The rules are yet to be framed. We have been cheated,” said Salil Meshchandra, chairman of Shivsrushti Housing Societies Association.
As such, the buildings continue to remain in a dilapidated state with no scope of redevelopment. “Not just the land but even we have become class II citizens, neither sale transaction can take place, nor redevelopment,” added Rameshchandra.
The associations say that the government should convert their lands into freehold lands at the earliest or face an agitation by the residents. Suburban collector Deependra Singh Kushwaha could not be contacted for a comment.