Ghatkopar complex gets notice for no OC in rare rap

Updated: Aug 24, 2019, 09:17 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon | Mumbai

A host of irregularities meant BMC couldn't turn a blind eye to 25-acre Vidyavihar project any more

The seven residential high-rises in Neelkanth Kingdom have existed without OC for nearly a decade. Pics/Datta Kumbhar
The seven residential high-rises in Neelkanth Kingdom have existed without OC for nearly a decade. Pics/Datta Kumbhar

Neelkanth Kingdom, a mega residential housing complex in Vidyavihar west, is finding itself on the wrong side of the law. Over 300 residents have been issued show-cause notices by the BMC under section 353 (A) of the MMC Act for carrying out various violations. Notices have also been served to the developer and licensed surveyor, for allowing flat buyers to move into the flats without an Occupation Certificate (OC).

Neelkanth Kingdom is spread over more than 25 acres. Phase 1 of the project comprises seven residential buildings – Awadh, Magadh, Avanti, Takshashila, Nalanda, Mithila and Kalinga. The notice, under Section 353 (A), read with 471 of the MMC Act, has been issued to over 300 flat owners residing in the said complex. BMC has also registered a case before the 42nd Metropolitan Magistrate Court at Shindewadi, Dadar. The first hearing of the case was held on August 22. The matter has been adjourned for hearing in the third week of October.

Serious concerns are being raised about the fate of the seven residential high-rises in the apartment complex
Serious concerns are being raised about the fate of the seven residential high-rises in the apartment complex

Continuing to suffer

Meanwhile, serious concerns are being raised about the fate of the seven residential high-rises in the apartment complex, that have existed without OC for nearly a decade. Confirming the receipt of the notice by flat owners, solicitor Stuti Galiya, who owns a flat in Avanti building, said, "As per my information, over 374 out of approximately 475 flat owners have been issued notice for occupying the flats without OC. It is unfortunate that people who have invested their hard-earned money in this project will continue to suffer because of the builder's failure to comply with the civic norms."

Galiya added, "Though the land belongs to the Suburban Collector, it was leased out to Vidyavihar Container Ltd, who granted development rights to Gammon Neelkanth Realty Corporation in 2004. The construction had stopped for a few years, resulting in a delay in handing over the possession as promised. It was only after flat buyers raised concerns by holding dharnas and lodging a police complaint that the state government finally intervened and the construction was completed. The builder promised to hand over the OC within two months of allowing flat buyers to occupy the flats, and since many were under the burden of bank EMI, they occupied the flats sometime in 2014, trusting the builder's word. But till today, the builder has not obtained the OC."

Asked about the failure to obtain OC, Galiya stated, "BMC had asked the builder to submit an additional set of documents which included getting the collector's NOC. Since most of the points raised were not complied with, the OC was never received." mid-day repeatedly tried to contact builder Mukesh Patel of Neelkanth Realtors, but he remained unavailable for comment.

BMC says

A senior BMC official said, "The said project does not have the required OC, which is why the notices were issued. They were not acted upon by the flat occupiers concerned and hence, as per the norms, the matter has been brought to the notice to the Metropolitan Magistrate Court." Asked about the outcome of such cases, the officer added, "The court makes a decision on the basis of the arguments from parties concerned and accordingly, fixes a penalty for the said violation. The onus is on the parties concerned to whom the notice is issued."

Also Read: 'No OC? No property tax respite either'

Licensed surveyor speaks

H S Thakker, the licensed surveyor of the project, who is also party to BMC's notice told mid-day, "I am of the view that unauthorised or additional alternation carried out by the occupants, should either be restored to the original plan or it should be regularised by approaching the developer after getting its structural audit done. Only once it is confirmed that the stability of the structure has not been damaged, can it be approved as per MCGM policy, after which OC of each building can be obtained."

A solution

Property lawyer Vinod Sampat, who was previously associated in the formation of the society of buildings inside Neelkanth Kingdom commented, "Thousands of buildings in Mumbai don't have a completion certificate or an OC. It is common knowledge that many wrongdoings are overlooked by the Building Proposal department and even the local ward office, which allow flat buyers to occupy flats even before the OC is issued. One fails to understand how BMC, despite being fully aware that OC has not been issued, levies water charges at double the rate from the flat occupiers, as if they are rendering a social service."

According to Sampat, an alternative for the flat buyers would be to get the matter regularised by utilisation of Floor Space Index/Transwfer of Development Rights for which the builder's cooperation is required. The regularisation proposal will have to be submitted through an architect on behalf of each flat owner.

475
Approx no. of flat owners in Neelkanth Kingdom

374
Approximate no. of flat owners to whom the notice has been issued

Also Read: Chembur High Rise Fire: Furious residents blame builder for dilly-dallying on giving OC

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