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Air India employees go homeless

400 Air India employees who bought company flats in Nerul in 2004, are still waiting for a precious No Objection Certificate from CIDCO. Intervention by the High Court hasn't helped, as the govt bodies indulge in rampant red-tapeism

It has been a long wait for over 400 Air India employees, caught in a web of red-tapeism, to take possession of their homes, constructed by Air India in Nerul, which have been ready since 2004. In the past seven years, the condition of their homes has deteriorated too, with paint peeling off the fa ade, and miscreants stealing doors and taps from inside the flats.



In February 2011, the Bombay High Court ordered City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Ltd. (CIDCO)  to issue No Objection Certificates (NOC) to the flat owners, the only thing required for them to take possession of their flats. Six months later, not only has CIDCO failed to provide NOCs, it is blaming Air India for the delay.

Sanjay Bramhane, president of Air India Employees Welfare Association said, "After the High Court's order we paid the full amount to Air India, whereupon CIDCO should have issued NOCs, so that we could form our society and get possession of our flats. However, the corporation has not issued the NOCs citing irregularities in the documents that we have submitted. All our documents are complete, and CIDCO is dilly-dallying."

In 1992, Air India asked CIDCO for 10 hectares in Nerul to construct flats for its employees. Air India constructed 512 flats in 25 buildings on 3.4 hectares in 1994, and eventually sold 400 flats to their employees in 2004, upon payment of 10 per cent of the cost of the flats. CIDCO, however, failed to issue the required NOCs, which led the employees to knock  on the High Court's door in 2008.

Suresh Babu, manager, Town Services, CIDCO said, "According to the New Bombay Land Disposal Act, a party has to construct not less than 50 per cent of total land allotted to the party in four years. However, Air India used only 3.4 of the 10 hectares, which does not fulfill the requirement for issuing NOCs. We have not received the additional lease premium from Air India as the ordered by the High Court. Further, as per the Act, one has to be a domicile of Maharashtra and not have more than two children, to receive an NOC. This is making issuing of NOCs difficult for us."

However, employees like Chandan Sonkar are fed up with the authorities' heavy-handed approach.

"We are laypersons and do not know the complexities of the law. Why we should we suffer because of the authorities' mistakes? If we were not eligible for the housing scheme, why were the flats sold to us?" he said.

Assistant General Manger of Air India Ravi Shinde was not available for comments. However, an Air India official, who spoke to Sunday MiD DAY on condition of anonymity, said, "There has been negligence on our part, but we will take necessary action soon to issue NOCs to the
society."

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