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Controversial redevelopment agreement cancelled after 10 years

Friday, March 15, 2019
By Raju Vernekar

MHADA has cancelled the controversial redevelopment agreement with Andheri based Aram Nagar due to the failure of the developer to submit proposal as per current ready reckoner, thus giving relief to a majority of the residents, opposed to the redevelopment.

A tripartite agreement between MHADA,RNA Developers and Aram Nagar Tenants Welfare Association (ANTWA) was cancelled by the letter dated 26 February, 2019 issued by MHADA VP and CEO Milind Mhaiskar, to the RNA Developers stating that “ Now you have requested to allot 3.00 FSI for this joint development vide your architect’s letter dated 14 December 2018 and have submitted the proposal considering ready reckoner rate 2010. You were asked on 4 January 2019 to submit proposal as per current ready reckoner. However you have failed to submit the said proposal, which shows approach towards the project. You have not yet started the construction and failed to get approval of commencement certificate since year 2009. Hence we hereby issue the notice of termination as per article 6 of the Joint Development Agreement”. The copies of the termination letter have also been sent to the ANTWA and Architect- Space Moulders.

There are 257 flats and 100 row houses admeasuring over 1200 square feet spread over 16 acre land at Yari Road, Seven Bungalows in Andheri West. After an agreement with the developer, the residents had passed a “no confidence resolution” against the executive committee of the ANTWA on 2 September 2009. Subsequently MHADA had also issued demolition notices to the residents under section 351 of the BMC, in a joint action with the BMC.

The topic of redevelopment of Aram Nagar has been in the news for the past several years since 200 out of 357 occupants termed the agreement as a “fraud” and based on forged documents. They had stated that only 29 per cent consent letters submitted by the developer in 2004 to MHADA were genuine and the rest were fake. Five of the tenants had also filed a writ petition (2086/2010) challenging the redevelopment. However it was dismissed and as a  review petition was filed on 7 October 2010.

Aram Nagar is located within 60 mtrs of CRZ under which no development is permitted up to 100 mtrs from the seashore. A few years back a building was constructed for NABARD which collapsed even before construction could be completed. The area also abounds in unauthorised structures, mainly raised by film production units, and MHADA had razed nearly 354 structures last year.

The petitioners had pointed out that no tenders were floated by MHADA for the redevelopment and the work was allotted only to one developer, who was carry out work with an investment of Rs 500 crore. He was also to pay Rs 24 crore towards the corpus fund. ANTWA was registered under the Bombay Trust Act 1950 as such permission of the Charity Commissioner was required. Besides, as per MHADA Act 1976, MHADA cannot be part of the redevelopment of private premises. Besides, in 1987 MHADA by a resolution had agreed to give ownership to the tenants.

Reacting to the cancellation of agreement, ANTWA office bearer Mohmmad Shaikh said that the residents were happy since the redevelopment was being pushed with “fraudulent means”.

Sulaiman Bhimani, consultant in real estate matters said that MHADA’s decision to cancel the agreement was wise since the redevelopment has any case been stalled for the last 10 years, without any relief to residents.

Nearly 65 year old colony is spread over 40 acres. It was used by the British, as an anti-submarine training base. During Partition, the government turned it into a transit camp for migrants. Almost all the original residents have either subsequently moved out, or retreated to upper floors or annexes to make way for the ambitious surge of the film and entertainment industry.

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