Mumbai housing society members hit the roof, allege illegalities by builder
Members of a housing society from Juhu, backed by filmmaker Ashoke Pandit, have written to the BMC alleging illegal construction by its builder. The society has alleged that the builder has enclosed the terrace on the 11th floor that was supposed to be open to residents. They have alleged this on the basis of building plans, but when mid-day contacted the builder, he denied any illegalities. The BMC has not taken cognizance of the complaint.
The building plans of Devpur Niketan at Juhu show the terrace is only supposed to have a bedroom and an attached toilet for the duplex on the 10th floor. Residents have alleged the builder has enclosed the terrace. Pic/Shadab Khan
The real estate industry of Mumbai is prone to complaints of illegalities, as developers as well as occupants try to get that extra space in their properties. While sometimes the violations may be as small as enclosing a balcony, there have been incidents where several floors have been constructed illegally.
Society members say
The Devpur Niketan CHS’ Leena Residency is a ground-plus-11-floor society on Gulmohur Road, JVPD. Originally more than 30 years old, the society was redeveloped by M/s Dev Land and Housing Pvt Ltd in 2015. The proposal for giving the project to the said developer was accepted by the society in 2005. When the construction was completed in 2015, the original occupants started living on the first seven floors while the flats on the 8th, 9th and 10th floors were sold.
According to the occupation certificate issued by the BMC in September 2015, the building comprises a basement plus stilts, plus 1st floor to 10th floor, plus 11th (part) duplex upper floors for residential use. The building plans show that the 11th floor is only supposed to have a bedroom with an attached toilet for the duplex on the 10th floor. The remaining portion is supposed to be a ‘part terrace above 10th floor.’
The housing society has alleged that the developer has enclosed this terrace and constructed on the entire space, which was actually supposed to stay with the society.
The society wrote to the ward office on March 9, 19, 29 and April 4 in the matter. The society secretary has attached a set of photographs and threatened legal action against the BMC for dereliction of duty.
“We had no idea the developer would carry out such unauthorised work. It was only when the work started around February, did we realize what was happening. What’s more, he has also introduced illegalities like servant quarters and a toilet in the basement, creation of a paying guest facility etc. The BMC has not responded to a single complaint,” said a society member.
Pandit, who lives near the said property, has also written to the BMC on April 26 under the Gulmohur Area Societies Welfare Group. He has asked the municipal commissioner to withdraw the OC in view of the complaints.
Vijay Thakker, who owns Dev Land and Housing Pvt Ltd, said, “Everything in the building has been made as per the plan. We are only constructing a bedroom on the 11th floor, nothing else.” When asked what documents he has to support his claim, he said that he has the approved plans and the OC. When pointed out that the OC marks the space as an open terrace, he said that the terrace has been maintained. When asked if a separate permission has been taken for the construction, he said his office might have it.
Assistant Municipal Commissioner (K-West) Parag Masurkar was informed about the matter on Friday but did not revert until Tuesday.
Society writes to BMC
The letter from the society to the assistant municipal commissioner of the ward, dated April 4, states, “We regret to record in spite of our repeated complaints referred herein above, and inspite of repeated personal visits requesting you to take immediate steps to stop illegal, unlawful and unauthorised construction by developers M/s Dev Land and Housing Pvt Ltd, you have turned a Nelson’s eye to the same and are helping developers to continue to perpetuate illegalities.”