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MHADA chairman bats for nearly 1 lakh illegal residents' rehabilitation

A ‘generous’ Prasad Lad has written to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, asking for a rehabilitation scheme for one lakh illegal residents of 8,500 transit homes; move expected to benefit the Congress-NCP combine in assembly elections

“If a poor man’s transit home has been bought by another poor man, then I don’t think it’s illegal,” this is what the chairman of MHADA’s Mumbai Repair and Reconstruction Board, Prasad Lad, told mid-day on Wednesday.

MHADA's Mumbai Repair and Reconstruction Board, Prasad Lad
Live and let live? Prateeksha Nagar, Sion, has the highest concentration of transit camps. (Inset) Prasad Lad, Chairman of MHADA’s Mumbai Repair and Reconstruction Board. File Pic/Sameer Markande

And it doesn’t end there. Lad has, in an official note to the Chief Minister, recommended that even though thousands of families residing in these transit camps houses are illegal occupants, they should be accommodated in other transit camps on humanitarian grounds.

As per MHADA records, there are some 20,000 transit homes in the city and nearly 8,500 of these are occupied by illegal encroachers. If Lad’s recommendation is accepted by the government, the ruling Congress-NCP combine would benefit in elections as most of the transit camps are concentrated in specific areas.

What Lad seems to have forgotten, however, is that the poor man he is referring to doesn’t have the right to sell the transit home he has been allotted by MHADA. Transit accommodation is given on a temporary basis to residents of cessed buildings that have collapsed or been declared too dangerous to reside in. A resident of a transit home, therefore, has no ownership rights on the flat, which is the government’s property.

As per MHADA records, there are some 20,000 transit homes in the city and nearly 8,500 of these are occupied by illegal encroachers. File pic
As per MHADA records, there are some 20,000 transit homes in the city and nearly 8,500 of these are occupied by illegal encroachers. File pic

“Legally, people staying in transit accommodation which has not officially been allotted to them by MHADA are encroachers. No one has the right to sell MHADA transit flats to anyone, as they are not owners of the flat. MHADA is the owner of these buildings,” said Dr R Survade, joint chief officer of MHADA’s Repair board.

Lad, however, wants the issue to be dealt with in a humanitarian manner. “In most of the buildings, 70% residents are illegal and 30% are legal. What they (the administration) want to do is bring these 70% on the road and my demand is ‘inko ghar ke badle ghar do’ (give them a home for a home). Initially, 8,500 families and 1 lakh people will benefit from this move,” he said.

Lad is hopeful that the decision on giving homes to unauthorised occupants of the transit homes will be taken in the monsoon session of the assembly. His other demand is that illegal occupants who have bought transit camp homes from the actual occupants should be given homes when a building is redeveloped.

“The government can decide it wants to impose a penalty on them or not,” said Lad.

In transit
The transit camps are located in areas as varied as Colaba, Goregaon, Vikhroli and Malad. Prateeksha Nagar, Sion, has the highest concentration of transit camps

20,000: No of transit camp homes in the city

8,500: No of such homes that are illegally occupied

1 lakh: No of people Lad claims will benefit from his move

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