Of the total housing stock the state housing board will get from redeveloping its transit camps some of which are in prime areas such as Lalbaug,Parel and Sion it has proposed to set aside nearly 60 per cent to accommodate those who had illegally purchased houses in these structures. In other words,the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) wants to legalise such occupants.
The transit camps are meant to provide alternative accommodation to people who have been moved from extremely dilapidated buildings those constructed before 1970. However,people living in transit camps were not given permanent houses for years. While some tired of living in threadbare accommodation simply moved out,others flouted rules and sold their rights to live in these transit camps.
MHADA has nearly 55 transit camps in the city with about 18,600 tenements. Prasad Lad,chairman of MHADAs repair and reconstruction board,said there were 7,000 to 8,000 families out of 12,000 who identified as illegal settlers. We will only look at legalising occupants who have proper paperwork to prove they purchased the tenement from the original occupant,but had not registered the sales deed and paid stamp duty as the sale was illegal. We will not provide protection to those who occupied tenements by force or simply moved into empty rooms by breaking the locks, he said.
Lad said the housing board expects to get 3,000 to 4,000 extra houses after setting families that MHADA has proposed to legalise. Since legalising such occupants is a policy decision of the state government,it may take at least six months to take effect. We will then invite families with valid paperwork,scrutinise the documents and if found genuine,direct them to pay the stamp duty and allot them a house, he added.
Currently,MHADA has signed contracts for the redevelopment of its transit camps in areas like Dharavi,Ghatkopar,Mulund,Vikhrolis Kannamwar Nagar,among others.
Sachin Ahir,minister of state for housing,said,If they have properly purchased houses from original occupants,we cant call them illegal and evict. In some cases,MHADA officials have aided them and hoodwinked them into believing that it is permitted. So we are mulling legalising their existence.