A day after mid-day published a report highlighting the state’s desperation in implementing the proposed amendment to the Maharashtra Rent Control Act, adversely affecting about 3 lakh tenanted properties across Mumbai, a group of 100-odd tenants gathered at Azad Maidan yesterday to voice their dissent.
Protestors claimed that once the amendment is implied, the government will enforce it on tenants occupying smaller dwellings too. Pic/Atul Kamble
Protestors claimed they feared that once the amendment was implied for the larger houses, within no time the government would enforce it on tenants occupying smaller dwellings. They said, by doing so, the government is helping developers vacate properties.
Subodh Sapre, Shivaji Park resident and one of the protestors, said, “First, they’ll target the bigger flats. Later, they [government] will impose the policy on smaller flats as well. Once these dwellings are vacated, the builder lobby will move in. If tenants are protected in the US and UK, then why not here?”
Seconding Sapre’s sentiments, another protestor Atul Mehta claimed that once the larger flats (850 sq ft) are vacated, the state would lap up dwellings as small as 100 sq ft as well. “We don’t know when the transfer of tenancy of flats was legalised by the government and how can they amend it now?”
A few of the protestors claimed since the amendment was proposed, landlords have started acting up. Gajendra R, a tenant from Tardeo said, “Earlier, my landlord would take 6 months rent at once. But now he insists that we pay on a monthly-basis. This is fishy.”
Another tenant claimed the sudden change in rent collection method indicates that if the rent is increased, landlords will not have to wait for six months to collect the hiked rent.
Tenants said they are planning to take their protest online to garner mass support for the movement, and are planning to launch a website.
Colaba resident Piran Doctor said, “We will set up a website, where people can register their signatures in protest. This will help those who are unable to be present physically, but want to support our movement.”
Former Congress Corporator (Colaba) Vinod Shekar, who attended the protest rally, claimed his party would ensure that the proposed amendment is scrapped. He said, “If you don’t withdraw, and don’t stop threatening us, we will not tolerate you. We will stop you. We will stop your car; you can’t render us homeless and roam freely. We won’t let you sleep peacefully.”
BJP MLA (Colaba) Raj Purohit issued a statement that he met the chief minister last afternoon and appraised him on the issue. Purohit claims he took a stand against the amendment stating that it would render lakhs of tenants homeless. The statement mentions that the chief minister assured to look into the matter.