Voicing their resentment against all political parties, nearly 1,500 residents of nine housing societies in Borivali have put up a banner at their gate which reads ‘no conveyance for society, no vote for election’ as they have collectively decided to vote for the ‘none of the above’ (NOTA) option in the civic polls next week. The members of the societies claimed that the deemed conveyance of their buildings have been sold to two builders without their consent and despite approaching Gopal Shetty, the BJP member of parliament from the area, no one has come forward to help them.
The residents even alleged that when they approached BJP Member of Parliament Gopal Shetty with their demand six months ago, Shetty allegedly stated that their votes won’t matter much for the party.
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“Even after multiple meetings with him and complaints to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr Shetty only spoke in the builder’s favour and did not do anything to help us. When we told him that we won’t vote for the BJP unless he helps us, he simply said our votes won’t make any difference to the party,” said Javeri.
Another resident, 59-year-old Jatin Shah from Darshan Mandir cooperative housing society, said they tried to approach local BJP corporator Beena Doshi but she too refused to help them. “In 2014, we even approached Sanjay Nirupam. Since Congress never came to power, they did not help us either. We had thought that since majority of our families are Gujarati, BJP would help us. But they support the builders and only work to further their profits. We have thus decided not to vote for any party and cast our votes for NOTA,” he said. Tushar Javeri of Shri Vivekanand Nagar cooperative housing society added that the residents of the nine buildings constituted about 10 per cent of the voters in the ward. “If at least 1,300 residents make a statement by voting for NOTA, perhaps it can make a difference,” he said.
According to the residents, out of the nine buildings in Korakendra near SV Road, which is mostly occupied by Gujaratis, the deemed conveyance and land rights have been sold to a particular developer while six others have been sold to another developer in a similar fashion by their original individual builders. Javeri said several buildings had litigations pending in the same matter and no solution was in sight. “As per norms, the deemed conveyance and the land rights are supposed to be transferred to the society four months after it is formed. Our original builder sold the land rights and deemed conveyance to another builder without taking our consent or even informing us. We found out much later when we approached the deputy registrar to apply for the deemed conveyance,” he said.
Despite having all other documents including the occupation certificate, the members of the housing societies are worried since they will be unable to take up the redevelopment of their building. “Our building was constructed in 1979 and when we need to take up the redevelopment we will have no freedom. The builder will exploit us and we will have no say in the conditions for the re-development even though the land rightfully belongs to us,” said Shah.
Apart from the issue of the deemed conveyance, residents of the buildings had other complaints against the local BJP corporator Beena Doshi who is now contesting from Ward 17 (Chikuwadi, Poisar Bus depot) regarding civic issues. Lalit Modi (73), a resident of Sagar Deep Darshan housing society, said Doshi lacked empathy towards senior citizens. “A few months ago, the lid of one of the manholes on the footpath adjacent to our compound wall went missing. I had approached Doshi to look into it. The manhole was covered with a lid that was significantly larger and anyone could have tripped on it. When I approached her again, she retorted that we should watch our step and walk,” he said.
Refuting the claims, Doshi stated that she had addressed all the issues brought forth to her by the residents. “I work as a corporator and the issue of their deemed conveyance does not fall within the jurisdiction of the BMC and isn’t among my duties. As for covering of the manholes, we can only facilitate the work and we don’t make the lids. It is the job of the BMC administration to ensure that the lid fits perfectly and the administration has time and again failed to support us adequately,” she said.
When contacted, Shetty refuted the allegations made by the residents and said he had written to the BMC asking them to inquire into the matter. “All of this is a political fabrication and I have never said anything like this to the residents. In fact, when they had approached me I had written a letter to the building proposal department to inquire into the matter, conduct a hearing and resolve the issue,” he said.
Shetty added that he would write to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to order a CBI inquiry against such fabricated allegations. “I will request the CM that if there is anything that I have done wrong in the last 25 years of my political career then they should put me behind bars,” he said.