With the elections looming large on the horizon, MHADA’s repair board, which is under the leadership of the Nationalist Congress Party, is in a mood to forgive, forget and even reward the illegal encroachers who have for long been occupying their transit tenements. A proposal has been moved by the repair board’s head - NCP man Prasad Lad - which seeks to give away homes amounting to over Rs 200 crore to those who have occupied it illegally, or stayed on after being given the temporary quarters.
According to the proposal, 8,448 transit tenements - of the total 21,135 tenements -which have been occupied by illegal encroachers, should be given to them for good. These tenements are housed in 56 transit camps in Mumbai, which are meant to accommodate people who lost their homes when buildings collapsed, or when their homes were declared dilapidated structures. A survey in 2010, however, had revealed that 8,448 of these have been encroached upon. Instead of taking action against the illegal encroachment, however, the repair board has decided to regularise it, on ‘humanitarian’ grounds.
A MHADA transit tenement costs at least Rs 25 lakh in the real estate market. Going by this rate, 8,448 homes would cost over Rs 200 crore, if sold in the market by agents. The rewards don’t stop there. The proposal says that MHADA would be giving the homes for free to the 20 per cent of encroachers who have documents to prove the purchase of their homes. The remaining 80 per cent will be asked to pay a rent of Rs 6,000 per month. If any building is redeveloped, the illegal encroachers would be given first preference for accommodation in the new buildings.
Ironically, MHADA, which is so confident of collecting a rent of Rs 6,000 per month from the occupants, has failed miserably in collecting the existing Rs 500 rent from many legal as well as illegal occupants of the transit homes, in the past.
Prasad Lad said, “After senior NCP leaders spoke with Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, I decided to propose to give the illegal encroachers the homes on rent if they don’t have any form of documents to show that they are legal holders of the home - whether they bought the home from an agent or entered it with bogus documents. All this is on humanitarian grounds. We won’t take rent from the people who purchased the tenements from the actual allottees.”
Those who will be asked to pay rent will have to make an initial deposit Rs 50,000, after which the rent would rise by 10 per cent each year. “After the buildings are redeveloped, the illegal encroachers would be given first preference to buy the homes at government rates. This would be produced in the assembly before the code of conduct comes into force, and the NCP is determined to get it passed,” said Lad.
56: Total number of transit camps
8,448: Number of encroached transit tenements
21,135: Total number of transit tenements