Thousands showed up at the Mantralaya gates on Tuesday and Wednesday, with duly filled ‘application forms’ for low-cost housing in Powai. This was an innovative form of protest, a brainchild of the Maharashtra Democratic Front (MDF), led by Republican Party of India leader Prakash Ambedkar.
Women show the completed application forms that were distributed to them by the Maharashtra Democratic Front. Pics/Sayed Sameer Abedi
The Front was demanding the low-cost houses promised to the poor by the state in 1986 under the Powai area development scheme devised by MMRDA, under the guidance of the Vasantdada Patil Congress government. 230 acres of land, at a rate of 40p per acre, was allotted for the cause to Hiranandani Developers.
The cost of each home was to be Rs 54,000. The ‘forms’, printed and distributed by the MDF, were submitted to the CM’s office. While officials accepted them, they clarified that the documents were fake and there was no such scheme. Dr Ujwala Jadhav, MDF spokesperson, said, “The state had an agreement with the Hiranandanis to construct affordable homes. However, the builder went ahead and built palatial flats.”
A case was registered against an unknown person in the “Powai Housing Forms scam” under sections 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the IPC at the Marine Drive police station, by Aashlesha Bhagat from Ghatkopar.