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Developers allege extortion by SRA engineers

Published : May 17, 2016, 4:13 pm IST
Updated : May 17, 2016, 4:13 pm IST

The tardy pace of project approvals and engineers on deputation being able to safely cement their position with the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA), it has emerged that these engineers are now ext

The tardy pace of project approvals and engineers on deputation being able to safely cement their position with the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA), it has emerged that these engineers are now extorting developers to clear projects.

A handful of developers in the city involved in SRA projects have already complained about the same to senior officials at Mantralaya, said a developer from a construction firm on condition of anonymity.

Another developer said that the engineers even had a rate card. “The engineers who have extended their tenure have prepared an unsaid rate card to obtain approvals and this depends on the square feet for which one is obtaining clearance.”

The developer further claimed that if a developer proposes to gain an approval for a construction of 20,000 square feet, which is of a clear title, the engineers will demand a bribe of around Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 per square feet.

The Asian Age had reported in February that about 80 per cent of the engineers on deputation with the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) project in the city had allegedly extended their tenure with the SRA beyond the permitted limit of three years.

Of the 44 engineers in the SRA, currently 25 have completed almost four years though they are expected to be reposted with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) after completing a tenure of three years.

SRA officials said in the absence of relievers the engineers were free to not vacate the post.

A senior civic official from the BMC engineers’ union said the civic body was in the process of carrying out the reposting process and the list was being updated.

Another developer who is involved in big-ticket SRA redevelopment schemes said, “The new development control regulations (DCR) being proposed by the BMC in the DP 2014-2034 has given engineers another reason to delay approvals and employ pressure tactics to make developers pay up.”

Meanwhile, SRA chief Aseem Gupta, said, “The process is going on smoothly and recently nine engineers were reposted with the BMC. However, a senior SRA official claimed, that the delay was owing to BMC taking time for reposting.

The post of engineer at the SRA is a lucrative one and it is considered to be one of the most corrupt departments.