Atlanta Limited, a construction and development company, building three residential towers of 20-storey each, on Tuesday moved the Bombay High Court after receiving a notice from the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) to stop construction on its 3-hectare land near Mumbra, as it is said to be in “bullet train project affected area”.
The petitioner, a company based in Andheri (East), challenged TMC’s “totally bad and illegal” stop work notice dated May 2 that has alleged that the buildings were coming up on land where the Rs 1.08-lakh crore Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project — spread across three districts of Maharashtra — is coming up.
The developer has contended that of the 234 flats in two of the highrises that were built in Phase I of the project, 229 have been sold. The third highrise is under construction under Phase II.
On Tuesday, Acting Chief Justice Naresh H Patil and Justice G S Kulkarni issued a notice to the TMC and the Thane collector, seeking their replies.
Lawyer T J Pandian, representing the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) — which is acquiring land for the bullet train project — was present in the court.
In its petition, filed through senior counsel M M Vashi and lawyer Aparna Devkar, Atlanta Limited has stated that it is the owner of the land in question at Sheel village near Mumbra, which falls under TMC’s jurisdiction. It added that three buildings were to be constructed in Phase I of the project, for which building permission was granted by the TMC on February 14, 2012.
The petition stated that TMC had granted the project the commencement certificate on March 16, 2012. The company also obtained a no-objection certificate on March 29, 2012 from the Maharashtra State Electric Distribute Company. As it was an agricultural land, the petitioner obtained permission for non-agricultural purpose in January 2013.
The petitioner added that after getting the permissions from various authorities, the company constructed two towers of split plus 20 floors. The developer has sold 229 of the 234 flats and obtained occupation certificate (OC). In all, 200 owners have shifted in their flats.
As the petitioner wanted to carry out further development, it sought permission from the TMC in October 2016. Following this, the TMC called upon the petitioner to deposit Rs 12.49 crore.
The petition stated that “due to implementation of Real Estate Regulatory Authority Act (RERA), the petitioner was required to amend the building plans, comply with other various formalities and there, further construction permissions were delayed”.
The petitioner told the court that it came across a public notice dated March 13, 2018 — published in a local newspaper — wherein the Thane collector declared that the process to acquire various lands required for the bullet train project is to be undertaken by NHSRCL. There was no mention of the developer’s land in the advertisement.
However, on May 2, the company received a notice from the TMC, served to its architect, asking to stop work as its land was to be acquired for the bullet train project.
On June 11, the petitioner informed the Thane collector that its development layout has been approved and out of the three buildings, two have been constructed in Phase I and OC has been received for the same. The petitioner also pointed out that the “land is not shown to be affected in the public notice” of March 13.
The petition said that in the meantime, the developer had applied for “DP (Development Plan) remarks” from the TMC. In a letter dated June 21, the TMC gave DP remarks and as far as the land required for the bullet train project is concerned, it stated that “some part of the said land belonging to the petitioner is affected and after final approval is granted to the bullet train project, fresh DP remarks are required to be obtained”.
The petitioner also sought a copy of the plans from the Thane collector that would show that its land is to be acquired for the bullet train project. On August 6, the petitioner was called for a meeting by the office of the Thane collector, during which the developer’s representative requested that the stop work notice be withdrawn and the petitioner be permitted to proceed with construction work as per the sanctioned Phase I layout.
On August 21, the petitioner received a copy of the plans showing the affected land. The developer said that after “being aggrieved” by the May 2 notice and also not being permitted to continue with construction work, it has moved court.