Situated on 57 acres of prime real estate beside Western Express Highway, the Samata Nagar redevelopment project is worth tens of thousands of crores. Not surprisingly it has drawn eager parties of all hues like moths to a flame, who see a tremendous opportunity for a windfall. An upshot of this tug of war between fortune-hunters is that the project mooted 16 years ago is still stuck in limbo.
The alleged involvement of controversial deputy collector Nitish Thakur, who is supposed to have received approximately Rs 290 crore from the interested developers M/s S D Corporation has only queered the pitch further for everyone. The project allegedly lacks several permissions from the government, and MHADA too seems to be dragging its feet on the matter.
In the midst of this hullabaloo, Raj Thackeray-led MNS has jumped onto the bandwagon and the party has written to chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, advocating scrapping of the venture. A letter signed by six MLAs of MNS Pravin Darekar, Bala Nandgaonkar, Shishir Shinde, Prakash Bhoir, Nitin Bhosale and Vasant Gite alleges that developers are taking help of goons to evict residents who are unwilling to shift.
It claims that redevelopment deals are being forced down the throats of locals with the help of bogus documents. Darekar, who represents Magathane assembly constituency of which the colony is a part, alleged that without the consent of 70 per cent of the residents, environmental clearances, NOC from MHADA property manager, and maps from the city survey department, the project was being pushed through.
The legislator has also alleged a huge payout to Ravindra Sapkal, who runs an educational hub of ‘international standards’ at Nashik and had written a letter to the then CM Vilasrao Deshmukh on speeding up the project.
The current per square foot rate in the venture is nearly Rs 12,500. Thane Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), which is probing Nitish Thakur’s disproportionate assets, has written to MHADA seeking details of the Samata Nagar project, the MLA has said. He has also sought the government’s response on allegations that certain persons working closely with the developers were linked with underworld.
Rs 1.6 lakhs crore
Total worth of the project to redevelop the residential buildings at Samata Nagar, which is situtated close to the Western Express highway. The project allegedly lacks permits