Mumbai: Aashiana apartments at Napean Sea Road sealed for non payment of Rs 12 crore property tax
Civic body has high-profile residents hopping for a day over Rs 12 cr tax, before moving the seal from the main gate to parking area on humanitarian grounds
The parking lot and the building, Aashiana Apartments, at Napean Sea Road. Pics/Bipin Kokate
Residents of the plush 32-storey Aashiana Apartments at Napean Sea Road, where each 5,500 sq ft flat costs no less than Rs 40 crore, are now faced with the threat of eviction over unpaid property tax of Rs 12 crore. Following its crackdown on property tax defaulters across the city, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) sealed the housing society on Monday night.
While a major part of the amount is expected to be paid by the society, part of it has to be borne by the developer of the building, said civic officials. While the building still has only a Partial Occupation Certificate (Partial OC is granted to large projects that are being developed in different phases or blocks), as revealed by civic sources, the amount of property tax the society owes is around Rs 8 crore, while the balance Rs 4 crore is owed by the developer.
The notice to pay up pasted on the premises
On Monday, civic officials put up a seal notice on the building gate so that every member noticed it. On Tuesday, BMC officials returned to seal the parking area, stating that Monday's notice was a warning and if the amount was not paid on time, the entire building would be sealed. A senior civic official explained the process, saying, "We have to notify the members and hence have to put up such notices. We haven't asked them to vacate immediately on humanitarian grounds, but the BMC can do that when required. However, this seal is for the recovery of our money and if one can afford a house in the building, they can surely pay this amount."
The lock that BMC placed in the building's parking lot
Assistant Municipal Commissioner VP Mote said, "It was a routine procedure as there were a total of seven buildings sealed in D ward on Monday. While this one was the biggest defaulters, others were small properties with amounts due for years. We have learned that the society members have showed willingness to pay the amount and the notice will be removed once we receive our dues. In such cases, we notify the societies and if the amount is not recovered, BMC can also auction properties to recover dues."
A society member, not willing to be named, said, "The BMC had put a seal on the building on Monday but removed it on Tuesday and have now just sealed our parking area. We have communicated to the civic body that the members will pay the dues, but there is a dispute over the amount and unless that is clear, the payment cannot be released fully. We have verbally been promised by our developer that he will take care of the amount that he owes the BMC."
Despite repeated attempts to get in touch with the developer, the office staff of Rohan Lifescapes (developer) did not reveal any details, and there was no response to a query sent by mid-day till the time of going to press.
Aashiana building is no stranger to controversy, with former attorney general of India Soli Sorabjee (who lives next to the tower) recently filing a petition in the high court over the construction work of the building 'endangering his life'.
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