Mumbai: Tense day for Juhu housing scheme

Updated: Oct 13, 2019, 08:07 IST | Shailesh Bhatia | Mumbai

Ex-residents, who had vacated Juhu CHS to aid redevelopment, denied entry into homes

Senior citizens who were denied entry into Juhu CHS. Pic/Anurag Ahire
Senior citizens who were denied entry into Juhu CHS. Pic/Anurag Ahire

Juhu CHS situated on Relief Road Santa Cruz West witnessed high drama on Saturday morning when 29 of its members, mostly senior citizens, who had moved out in 2016, after the society was listed for redevelopment, were denied entry by two members who had decided to stay back. The tension was diffused only after the police intervened.

"We were just following the directives of the civil court and BMC that authorised members to submit a fresh structural audit report within seven days, but was delayed as resident members denied having received a copy of the same. After diligent follow ups we decided to meet up at 8.30 am along with our structural auditor, but were denied entry in to our own building and flats," said Vijay Ranade, 76, the society's former secretary.

Vijay Mulchandani, 60, another ex-member said that the 50-year-old building was in a dilapidated condition. "Fearing for the safety of our residents, all members, barring seven, unanimously decided to go in for redevelopment. With work being stalled for three years, the majority whose interest should have been protected, as per the guidelines of Registrar of Societies, are living in fear of being rendered homeless," he said.

Arundhiti Ghatpande, 70, who along with Vasant Ghatge, 75, had travelled all the way from Pune said that even in the past, when she had gone to retrieve some of her belongings and mail from her flat, she was subjected to humiliation. Sharing a disturbing video of her flat, TV and theatre artiste Swati Tipnis said that her mother moved in with her widowed daughter-in-law in the hope of returning home soon. "Till the end, she kept repeating mera ghar... mera ghar," she said of her late mother. Senior police officials of Santa Cruz police station met with the aggrieved residents and advised them to have a society committee meeting at the earliest. They also asked them to get a structural audit done within two weeks.

Sirish Saudika, 62, alleged that they were not against the idea of redevelopment, but their main reason for staying back was that the due process of appointing the builder, was questionable. "I have spent weeks without water and electricity, after it was cut. It was restored only after the courts intervened," he said. Society treasurer Snehlata Kapadane, 76, alleged that the paperwork to carry out the structural audit was not in order, as the name of their building was not mentioned in the notice under the relevant section, and was a major cause for concern.

Official Speak

BS Katre, deputy registrar of societies, confirmed that he had received complaints from the two warring sections of society members. "Some member from the previous managing committed had resigned and we had instructed that fresh members get elected for the vacant posts. The resident members have no legal right to bar the entry of members, who want to visit their own flats."

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