Cheats grab homes meant for slum dwellers
Seema Jawale, Shiv Sena corporator from Phule Nagar, filed application in June 2012 seeking details of documents submitted by 3,000 beneficiaries for free housing under Slum Rehabilitation Authority at Nigadi Otta Scheme Area; learns around 141 persons grabbed free houses by submitting fabricated documents.
A shovking revelation came to the fore after a Shiv Sena corporator filed a query under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, seeking details of documents submitted by 3,000 beneficiaries for free housing under the Slum Rehabilitation Authority scheme. The application filed by Seema Jawale, Shiv Sena corporator from Phule Nagar in PCMC, revealed that around 141 persons have grabbed free houses under the SRA scheme that has been developed for slum dwellers in Nigadi Otta Scheme Area.
The corporator pursued the matter after she received numerous complaints from beneficiaries entitled to the scheme, but were being denied the right by persons who were submitting fabricated documents to avail benefits. Jawale who has so far verified documents submitted by 207 slum dwellers, learnt that 141 individuals managed to grab houses using fake documents, like voter’s ID, ration card and employees’ state insurance (ESI).
More importantly, at least seven beneficiaries who took possession of flats in 2009-2010, each admeasuring 270 sq feetroughly costing around Rs 10 lakh in the open market, submitted birth certificates having the same serial number. Jawale also learnt that several certificates allegedly issued from Jijamata Hospital bear serial number 17310, seven beneficiaries submitted birth certificates bearing identical serial numbers, while five certificates bearing serial number 70496 were issued from Talera Hospital.
Jawale who had filed RTI application in June 2012, received an answer in September 2012, but was only able to get information of 70 beneficiaries, of which 34 were bogus. Her query for the rest was answered in December last year and details of 137 beneficiaries revealed that 107 were bogus.
Jawale claims that document details of 207 beneficiaries sent to the health department of Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) revealed that 141 applicants shared wrong information or submitted fake birth certificates. Jawale said, “Shockingly, at least seven beneficiaries submitted birth certificates having the same serial number, which was issued by same doctor from the same nursing home.” Jawale added that Talera and Jijamata maternity homes are run by PCMC.
Clarifying what prompted her to investigate the matter, Jawale said that complaints from slum dwellers, who were being denied the right to get free houses under the SRA scheme, compelled her to pursue the matter. Jawale said she had filed a writ petition in the Mumbai High Court in February 2011, after which the court issued a stay order on this scheme when 3,000 houses were completed out of the 11,760 homes planned under the project. She added that the HC also issued a show cause notice to some of the beneficiaries in December 2012.
“Besides asking PCMC Commissioner Dr Srikar Pardeshi to take strict action against the officers for exhibiting negligence while providing such bogus documents, I am going to raise the issue in the General Body meeting of PCMC on March 20,” Jawale said.
When questioned, Pardeshi said that the three-member committee, which includes PCMC Additional Commissioner Prakash Kadam, Chief Auditor Bhagwan Ghadge and Assistant Commissioner Satish Kulkarni, was formed yesterday to investigate the matter.
Meanwhile, head of PCMC health department S B Gaikwad said that he was unaware about any such incident involving PCMC-run hospitals issuing bogus birth certificates to beneficiaries of the slum rehabilitation scheme. Assistant Commissioner Dilip Gawade said that address proof is necessary while taking benefits of any such government projects.