Sunday MiD DAY is in possession of the Official Development Plan, submitted by the architect, which clearly demarcates that the area has been designated for a recreational ground, but a site visit reveals that the area has been encroached upon by constructed shops.
The evidence also contradicts a Right To Information (RTI) response given to activist Ramakant Patil, who filed an enquiry after receiving complaints from residents concerned about dwindling open spaces. Dated January 10, 2012, the RTI response claims that the land is free of encroachments.
Dattraya Bhoir, landlord of the property, sold his plot to Girnar Constructions in 2002 for the construction of a residential complex, namely Shivam Apartments. He says the garden plot was initially utilised by the builder to house his construction workers on a temporary basis. But once his building was completed, the huts disappeared and illegal shops cropped up.
He said, “Twelve units, which have been built illegally on the property, are worth upto Rs 40 lakh a piece. We are also concerned about the fact that with the open space encroached upon, the Town Planning department will refuse to clear any new buildings in the future, till the issue is settled.”
RTI activist Manoj Paralkar from Dahisar, revealed that as per BMC guidelines, the developer was obligated to hand over the garden to the Building and Planning Department once his project was complete. He said, “We have sought answers about who gave the permissions to utilise the garden plot to build shops. There are strict court judgements against such illegal constructions.”
Uttam Pednekar, sub engineer, Building and Planning Department, R North ward, BMC, claims to have dispatched a letter about the irregularities to the builder and his architect. However, Dinesh Shah, proprietor of Girnar Constructions, denied the existence of any such reserved garden plot and the alleged encroachments. He said, “There is no question of building illegal shops on a plot reserved for a garden.”