After several failed attempts to redevelop their 79-year-old Dadar building, 32 families have now approached the Prime Minister’s Office.
After several failed attempts to redevelop their 79-year-old Dadar building, 32 families have now approached the Prime Minister’s Office. The redevelopment of this building has been in limbo because the Landlord Association of the city has filed a case against transfer of ownership of flats to tenants.
Aram Co-operative Housing Society, located on Gokhale Road in Dadar (west), is inhabited mostly by senior citizens. These residents became owners of their flats in 1997 by paying the landlord 100 months’ rent, and prior to this they were tenants. This is a cessed building and Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority (Mhada) takes care of its maintenance.
Ram Shankar, (78), a resident of the society, along with other residents has written to the PMO where they have sought intervention of chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in the matter.
The letter sent to the PMO reads, “The city is dotted with many old dilapidated buildings, one of which is the society where we reside. The state government through Mhada has given the possession of the structure with a clause in the conveyance-preventing sale or redevelopment of the building. The society, constructed in 1939, needs urgent redevelopment, as no amount of arrears will prevent it from imminent crash. The faulty conveyance needs to be corrected forthwith to fullfil your dream of ‘Housing For All’.”
Mr Shankar, said, “We had discussed this issue with Mhada on a regular basis, but we were told that it is the state government that would have to amend the Act. We request both the state and Centre to intervene in the matter and prevent the decades-old structure from collapsing.”
Senior Mhada officials have claimed that as the matter is in the Supreme Court, even the state government cannot make any amendments to the Act.
The bone of contention is the little-known Mhada Act that allows tenants of pre-1940 cessed structures to become owners.
The two-decades-old scheme known as Chapter 8A of the Mhada Act was introduced to give ownership of the flat to the tenants, as the landlords were not maintaining the structures owing to low rents. However, the Supreme Court stayed the scheme after the landlords from the city challenged it back in the late 90s.
The matter was later referred to the five-judge constitutional bench that, in turn, passed it on to a seven-judge bench. Later, the matter was referred to a nine-judge bench, which is yet to decide on the case.
Like Aram society, around 176 other old buildings in the island city, which are located mainly in areas like Dadar, Parel, Kalbadevi, Malabar Hill are awaiting redevelopment.
Meanwhile, Shiv Sena member of Legislative Assembly Mr Sada Sarvankar from Dadar, said, “I am going to bring up the matter of redevelopment of cessed buildings in the winter session as most of the buildings are in my constituency.”