26 builders in Mumbai owe MHADA Rs 32 cr in rent
It has come to the fore that 26 builders in the city have not paid rent for 1,542 flats taken from MHADA to accommodate residents, whose buildings or societies these developers have taken up for redevelopment. According to a preliminary report, the pending rent due to MHADA from these builders is around Rs 32 crore, but the investigation is still going on and this figure could fluctuate.
Many of these developers can expect to face legal action and an investigation was initiated after some senior officers realised that these builders had outstanding dues to pay.
For the past 10 years and in some cases since 1995, MHADA has rented out flats at various areas in the city to builders to accommodate people who were to be relocated until the time redevelopment was completed at their respective buildings or societies. According to sources in MHADA, a study is still in process and the said pending amount could increase or decrease and will reflect in the final report once it is prepared.
MHADA has given out flats in areas like Prateeksha Nagar, Sakhar Nagar, Magathane in Borivli, Goregaon, Chembur, Bandra, Kurla and several other areas of the city. In 2002, the rent for a flat in a building with lift was Rs 1,200 and a flat without one could be rented for between Rs 500 and Rs 600. Now rates have been increased to between Rs 12,000 and Rs 6,000 per month respectively.
Builders taking up projects under DCR 33 (7) and SRA approach MHADA for flats to accommodate existing tenants and residents of buildings they take up for redevelopment. MHADA provides them with vacant flats on a fixed rent and the builders in turn accommodate their tenants and residents.
There are 26 such builders who approached MHADA in the last decade and 1,542 flats are in their possession.
Put on notice
Prasad Lad, chairman of Repair and Reconstruction Board, under whose jurisdiction these flats come, said, “We have already issued notices to all the builders and a few have come forward for a settlement. Three such builders have already decided to make payment. We expect the rest will follow suit. We are even prepared to approach the police and register a case against those builders who are not willing to pay up.”
Lad added that it was the government’s money and should not be allowed to be lost. “We will take all the necessary steps to recover the money,” Lad said.
A senior MHADA officer requesting anonymity said, “Investigations are on and we are checking the current status. There are many builders who had asked for 50 flats but took only 30. Their rent would be reduced from the current figure. At the same time, there are a few builders who continue to pay according to the previous rate, despite the hike. All these factors are being considered before the final report is released.”
Approx number of housing units MHADA has constructed in Mumbai since its establishment in 1977
The number of flats for which rents are due from builders