Mumbai: MHADA gave 48 families flats without Occupancy Certificates
Housing agency allots houses to 48 lottery winners before even securing Occupancy Certificates, leaving them without proper water supply or gas
The top 12 storeys of F Wing at Borivli's Paradise Heights are yet to be granted the Occupancy Certificate. Pic/Nimesh Dave
As many as 48 families have discovered that winning a coveted flat in the MHADA lottery isn't always good luck. Five years after being granted possession of their houses, these residents are the only ones who do not have proper water supply, piped gas connection or even the right to vote in their society elections, because the housing authority never got the Occupancy Certificate (OC) for these flats.
There are six buildings at Borivli's Paradise Heights, but only 48 flats — all on the top 12 storeys of F Wing — do not get basic rights like gas supply or voting benefits. The homeowners were allotted these flats in the 2011 lottery by the Maharashtra Housing Area and Development Authority (MHADA). The agency gave the flat owners possession in 2013. The residents never suspected that the housing authority would break its own rule and grant possession for houses without securing the OC first.
MHADA officials said they were working on getting the OC for the top 12 floors of F Wing at Paradise Heights, Borivli. Pic/Nimesh Dave
All six buildings in the complex have OCs, but F Wing only has the Occupancy Certificate for the bottom 12 storeys, rendering all dwelling spaces on floors 13 to 24 as unauthorised. Because of this, while the other five buildings get 24-hour water supply, the entire F Wing has to manage with just 30-45 minutes of running water. Even though F Wing has a BMC water connection, the Corporation only issues water according to the OC. Residents pointed out that many a time, a tanker has to be ordered to ensure that residents get a bare minimum of 30 minutes of running water.
Residents fed up
Urmila Pawar, who resides in F Wing, said, "We have complained many times to MHADA, and also requested to ensure that the OC is issued at the earliest. But even today, after so many years, we have to face water shortage."
Adding fuel to the fire, the 48 residents lacking an OC cannot avail of a piped LPG connection either, as the gas agency refuses to register them without an OC. The unlucky 48 don't even have the right to vote in their own society elections, as they are not recognised as official members.
Can't even vote in society
Managing committee members from the society alleged that despite giving possession to these lottery winners, MHADA records show that the houses are vacant. In a technically smart move, the agency had only given them a provisional possession letter, which mentioned they would have temporary possession.
"It has been around five years since we were given possession. Some moved here in 2015, after provisional possession letters were issued to them. They paid MHADA the same amount, and are also paying maintenance, but cannot enjoy basic facilities given to other members. This is completely wrong on the part of the authorities," said Dharmendra Jadhav, secretary of Paradise Heights.
Why no OC yet?
The land had been earmarked as a recreational ground in the 1991 Development Plan, but since it was MHADA-owned plot, the housing agency had the authority to go ahead with construction. In lieu of building a ground there, MHADA was supposed to give BMC the facility elsewhere, but the location was under dispute. This was resolved in 2017, two years after the housing authority granted temporary possession to the 48 families.
When questioned about allotting houses without OC, several senior MHADA officials told this reporter that it just was not possible for the government agency to do such a thing. NJ Gadkari, MHADA's executive engineer in Borivli, said, "We are rigorously following up with the BMC on this issue. We will soon get the OC."
2015 Year in which the 48 families got temporary possession
45mins Duration of daily water supply to the entire F Wing
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