Despite Bombay HC order, 109 families stuck in Mhada red tape

January 26, 2024

MUMBAI: Homeless since 2011 after her family vacated Parvati building in Girgaum for a redevelopment project, 43-year-old Ruchita Rupesh Pednekar is struggling hard to make two ends meet. For eight years now, irregular payment of rent from developers has stressed her family even more, especially her husband who died recently after he was diagnosed with cancer two years ago.

Ruchita, who sells clothes to barely meet expenses for her only son, said they are forced to live in Navi Mumbai, away from their home turf Girgaum which has become unaffordable given the circumstances. Similarly, 76-year-old Suresh Shirke, who is suffering from diabetes and already burdened with a Rs 2.5 lakh loan, said his present landlord has warned him to throw his family out from March 1 if they fail to pay the rent.

Shirke is also the victim of inordinate delay in redevelopment of Parvati building being an owner resident there and said after the recent high court orders he and several other Parvati building residents had a hope that Mhada would help them get their arrears of the transit rent. “Unfortunately, we are left to fend for ourselves. We regret going for redevelopment and our lives are ruined,” he adds.

Not just Ruchita and Suresh, lives of other 107 families are stuck in Mhada red tape even five months after the Bombay High Court cancelled the No Objection Certificate (NOC) of developers responsible for the Parvati building redevelopment project located at Thakurdwar in Girgaum and directed the Mhada to acquire the project under the newly amended Section 91A of the Mhada Act.

This amendment empowers the housing authority to act as a savior for stuck redevelopment projects across Mumbai and get it done at the earliest after acquiring the project. The Parvati building redevelopment project has remained stagnant for 13 years, leaving the affected families not only homeless but also devoid of the transit rent promised by the developers.

Meanwhile, Mhada CEO Sanjeev Jaiswal and chief officer of repair board Milind Shambharkar refused to comment on the matter.

As per the order by the division bench of Bombay high court comprising G S Patel and Neela Gokhale Mhada was supposed to verify arrears of the rent and acquire the project. Jitendra Ghadge, an RTI activist who lived in the building till 20 years ago, claimed rent arrears worth about Rs 12 crore were reportedly yet to be disbursed by builders to residents.

Ghadge said despite Bombay HC providing relief to the victims by ordering payment of rent arrear rent and acquisition of project by Mhada, lives of 109 families are still entangled in the Mhada red tape. He claimed that his RTI query filed a month ago was given a cold shoulder, highlighting the ‘apathetic approach’ of Mhada officials despite clear court orders.

“The inaction of Mhada officials, even five months after the court’s decision, is shocking. The lack of clarity on the timeline for Mhada to acquire the project and recover rent from the old developer as per the high court orders adds to the distress of residents,” he added.

  • Published On Jan 26, 2024 at 09:55 AM IST

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