Mumbai: Staring at Rs 125-crore hit, BMC set to move Supreme Court

Updated: Sep 25, 2019, 12:05 IST | Prajakta Kasale | Mumbai

Civic body says adhering to HC order to pay project-affected people in Mahul will come in the way of other development work in the city

Mahul residents live in a deeply polluted area. File pic
Mahul residents live in a deeply polluted area. File pic

Faced with the prospect of shelling out Rs 125 crore a year following the Bombay HC order directing the civic body to provide alternative accommodation for project-affected people living in Mahul, the BMC has decided to move the Supreme Court.

There are 72 buildings in Mahul, according to the BMC, of which it has allotted 5,550 homes to project-affected people. The high court ruled on Monday that no more families should be shifted to Mahul till alternative accommodation is provided to the current residents and directed the government to deposit Rs 15,000 per month as rent and Rs 45,000 as refundable deposit in the account of each occupant. "While the BMC has allocated homes to more than 5,500 families, only 3,500-4,000 families actually live in the area," said Nandu Shinde, a petitioner and a Mahul resident. "Others live on rent in other parts of the city as this area is severely polluted."

Keshav Ubale, assistant commissioner, Estate Department, said that it will cost the civic body approximately Rs 8.3 crore a month to pay the rents. "In other words, the civic body has to spend Rs 100 crore in a year as rent and an additional Rs 25 crore as deposits. How can we spent this much amount from the taxpayer's money?" he asked. "The impact will not be limited just to finances. This will halt several projects like road widening, nullah widening, and the redevelopment of dilapidated buildings for the next four to five years, as the civic body doesn't have any other alternative accommodation."

Mahul residents are surrounded by factories and refineries and continuously breathe in noxious fumes. File pic
Mahul residents are surrounded by factories and refineries and continuously breathe in noxious fumes. File pic

Another official, who did not want to be named, said the SRA had spent a few hundred crores on the construction of the buildings in Mahul before handing them over to the BMC and it will cost the BMC another huge amount to demolish these structures and construct new buildings. "A huge chunk of the property tax raised in the city will go into building PAP homes," said the official. While a BMC officer said they are in the process finishing the formalities to file an appeal in the Supreme Court, another officer said the BMC is also considering taking the issue to the National Green Tribunal.

On Tuesday, all stakeholders — oil and refinery companies, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, and Urban Department officials — met at the BMC headquarters to discuss the high court order. In keeping with the NGT order, oil companies have already started implementing various measures and sources claimed that the pollution levels are much lower than before. MPCB officials will submit a report on the status of the planning and NEERI is ready to submit a fact-finding report, said an official present at the meeting.

No. of homes BMC has allocated to PAP in Mahul

Also Read: BMC: Experts to review contractors' designs for bridges

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