'Jewel of Kharghar' to bite the dust tomorrow

The hours are numbered for residents and flat owners of the Green Heritage towers, once ironically touted as the ‘Jewel of Kharghar’. The City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO) has pasted its final notice on the controversial high-rise, ordering an immediate evacuation of the flats, and announcing that the flats will be demolished tomorrow. 

Pic/Sameer Markande

CIDCO has sought police protection for the demolition.

“Now there is no chance for the residents or the builder. We are going to demolish the high-rise on Friday. We have pasted a notice on the building and also given a copy to the society chairman,” said Anil Patil, the Chief Controller of Unauthorised Construction, CIDCO.

The Green Heritage project, having three wings with 21 storeys in each, has been mired in controversy for the past year.

According to documents, the builder illegally gained extra floor space index (FSI) of 1,575 square metres, although petitioner Pramod Mittal claimed that they had actually misappropriated 3,600 square metres worth of FSI.

The builder had only sought permission for constructing 97 flats, 20 shops and two offices, but instead constructed 140 flats, 38 shops, four offices and four clubhouses.

In 2009, CIDCO refused to issue the builder an occupancy certificate (OC), but they went ahead and handed over the flats to owners anyway. Several VIPs own flats in the towers.

Even though Mittal had relevant documents against the builders, neither the police, nor CIDCO officials took his complaint seriously. Though local police labelled the matter as a criminal case, DCP (crime) DT Shinde did not act on the reports, and even tried converting the criminal case into a civil one. Finally, Mittal approached the High Court and on November 30 last year, the court ordered the police to register an FIR in the matter.

On December 7, Kharghar police lodged an FIR against top CIDCO and MSEB officials, Abhishek Builders and Developers, and also DCP Dattatray Shinde (Navi Mumbai), under several sections of IPC. 

Residents fume
As soon as CIDCO issued an eviction notice to residents of Green Heritage, they convened a meeting to discuss the matter. The conversation soon turned into an ugly debate, as most of the residents fumed and vented spleen, in the face of the imminent destruction of their property. They finally decided neither to approach CIDCO nor vacate their homes, and blamed the builder for the debacle. “We are under mental stress after receiving the notice. But we are not going to vacate our homes since the builder sold us our homes and not CIDCO. Let’s see what happens tomorrow,” said a resident, who didn’t wish to be named.

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