Two sets of development plans (DP) for Girnar Constructions’ project in Dahisar (E), one with the architect Harish Ghandhi’s signature and the other without, were obtained by RTI activists Dattraya Bhoir and Manoj Paralkar (SMD has copies). This is proof that a reserved garden plot was part of the project on Sir Bharucha Road. Measuring 742 sq metres, the estimated market value of the plot is over Rs 10 crore.
In April, SMD (Illegal Encroachment — Dahisar Residents Fight for Space, April 5, 2012) had exposed the encroachments by over 12 commercial establishments on the the recreational ground (RG).
Landlord Dattraya Bhoir, who had sold the plot to Girnar Constructions, decided to get more information on the subject under RTI. He procured two letters, which were issued by Harish Ghandhi, architect and planner for the project (which includes a multi-storied Shivam Apartments).
Ghandhi’s letter, dated May 19, 2012, mentions that the shops built on the RG plot are illegal and unauthorised. It states that he sent an official letter to the builders asking them to demolish the shops. (SMD has copies). “The dispute started less than a year ago when Shayamji Bhai Shah, proprietor Girnar Constructions, expired and his son Dinesh Shah took charge,” clarified Ghandhi.
Non-compliance to develop the RG plot should result in the builder being denied an occupancy certificate.
Bhoir claimed that the garden plot was initially utilised by the builder to house construction workers on a temporary basis, but once the project was completed, the sheds disappeared and illegal shops, which have a market value of over Rs 40 lacs per unit, cropped up.
“The builder tried to pass off the construction workers as original slum dwellers and submitted their relevant documents to prove his stand. Government officials contradicted this with the help of Google images and other evidence provided by us,” alleged Bhoir.
Manoj Paralkar, who has been fighting for the RG along with Bhoir, revealed that as per the BMC guidelines and terms of agreement, the developer was obligated to hand over the garden to the Building and Planning Department once his project was complete.
Dinesh Shah, proprietor Girnar Constructions, who was unavailable for comment, had earlier denied the existence of any reserved garden plot or any alleged encroachments.
Municipal Councillor and Ward Committee Chairman, Avinash Ghosalkar said that it was a ironic how the illegal structures were not being demolished, in spite of the evidence and letters from premium government agencies, indicting the builder of malpractice. “Our legal team is working on it.”