AFTER DECIDING to protect even those who have illegally purchased a slum rehabilitation home in Mumbai, the state government has now decided to create an Aadhaar-based database of beneficiaries of slum redevelopment schemes to curb illegal transfers.
In a directive issued to the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) earlier this week, the state housing department has asked the agency to link Aadhaar card details and photographs of the beneficiaries for all new and ongoing schemes.
In Mumbai, every second resident lives in a slum. As per SRA records, about 1,513 slum redevelopment projects are currently in progress. Even as norms bar slum dwellers to transfer or sell their rehabilitation homes for at least 10 years, a recent government survey had found such transfers in at least 13,500 cases.
The SRA, which is the state’s nodal agency for such redevelopment projects, had conducted the survey at the instance of the Bombay High Court, which is hearing a petition in this regard.
Just before the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha polls kicked in, the Devendra Fadnavis government had announced a plan to legalise the ownership of those who have illegally purchased such a home within the lock-in period by paying the stipulated transfer fee and a penalty amount, which would be proportionate to the transfer fee.
But just as the business rules pertaining to the concession are still being worked out, the government has taken measures to avoid misuse of the dole.
Quoting SRA provisions, Additional Chief Secretary (Housing) Sanjay Kumar, in a letter addressed to SRA Chief Executive Officer Deepak Kapoor on May 3, has reiterated that “a slum project beneficiary was not entitled to another benefit in a government scheme”.
With the government also making families occupy slum structures, which have come up between 2000 and 2011, on the payment of the construction cost, the housing department has asked the SRA to create an Aadhaar-based database even for such beneficiaries.
Welcome the government directive, housing activist Ramesh Prabhu said that expensive real estate was the reason for people purchasing illegal slum rehabilitation homes, which are available at a much cheaper rate.