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Mumbai: Hospital’s application for OC turned down thrice earlier, finally granted last year due to ‘Covid-19 and exceptional circumstances’

The BMC documents accessed by The Indian Express show that the mall had pending dues of Rs 10 crore of property tax, and the assessors and the collection department had even attached the property in November 2014 for defaulting in their payment.

Written by Laxman Singh | Mumbai |
March 28, 2021 12:11:06 am
Sunrise hospital burnt MumnaiViolations in the mall included illegal construction in shops, non-payment of property tax, irregularities in Floor Space Index (FSI), and not handing over a parking lot to the BMC. (Express Photo by Deepak Joshi)

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), which had granted a provisional occupational certificate (OC) to Sunrise Hospital in April last year, citing Covid-19 pandemic and ‘exceptional circumstances’, had rejected a similar proposal by the hospital three times in the last 10 years.

The proposals were rejected in view of the violations noticed by the BMC in Dreams Malls, where the hospital was to be set up on the third floor.

Housing Development and Infrastructure Limited (HDIL), a real estate developer, which had built Dreams Mall in March 2011, had received approval from the BMC to construct the hospital on the third floor of the mall. The hospital construction was completed in 2013.

IN 2011 and 2016, the HDIL had sought an occupational certificate for the hospital. Dr Nikita Trehan of M/s Privilege Health Care Services Private Limited, which is now running the hospital, had approached the BMC twice, in 2018 and 2019, for a similar approval. All of the representations were made before then municipal commissioners. Due to the seriousness of violations in the mall, the granting of OC required special approval from the municipal commissioner.

Documents from the BMC show that the first application of seeking OC for third floor was rejected on October 31, 2011, then on June 28, 2016, while the third application was rejected on March 22, 2019, due to illegalities in the construction of the mall.

Violations in the mall included illegal construction in shops, non-payment of property tax, irregularities in Floor Space Index (FSI), and not handing over a parking lot to the BMC. The developer had allegedly also converted Building Management Service and Air Handling Units into shops illegally. Also, of the 1,094 total shops in the mall, 431 had done illegal alteration and addition in their shops against which S ward (Bhandup) had initiated action, said an official.

“Between 2011 and 2019, we had submitted seven detailed reports to municipal commissioners, explaining the pending issues and urging not to grant separate occupational certificate for the third floor of the mall. The developer had promised to rectify all the issues and clear the dues of property tax, but it never happened. Multiple correspondences were made from HDIL, and later Dr Trehan to get the OC,” said an official from the Building Proposal department.

In 2018, Dr Trehan approached the BMC for the OC and said they had purchased the third floor from HDIL. She said since Privilege Health Care Services Private Limited was an independent entity, issues related to the mall should not be linked with her case.

However, in March 2019, then municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta had rejected the proposal and asked them to first comply with all the pending issues, before the process of OC could be looked at.

On April 27, 2020, setting aside all the pending issues, then municipal commissioner Praveen Pardeshi gave special permission to grant exclusive OC for the third floor, where the hospital structure was in existence since 2014. “In view of the exceptional circumstances of Covid epidemic, all hospitals need to be mobilised. This will be kept especially for health and frontline workers,” wrote Pardeshi while
clearing the way for provisional OC for the hospital.

The BMC documents accessed by The Indian Express show that the mall had pending dues of Rs 10 crore of property tax, and the assessors and the collection department had even attached the property in November 2014 for defaulting in their payment.

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