MUMBAI: In a city where police housing has historically been in short supply, BDD chawl redevelopment in central Mumbai now threatens to reduce the number of service quarters available in the scheme to constables by more than half.
The Mumbai police commissionerate that owns 2,900 tenements in the BDD chawls stands to lose 1,800 of them on redevelopment due to a decision to allow families of policemen occupying the bulk of the service quarters to get permanent ownership after redevelopment.
After redevelopment, 1,800 tenements occupied by families of policemen in service, retired or staying on on compassionate grounds since January 1, 2011 shall be entitled to 500 sq feet flats, provided they pay the construction cost.
For the rest, Mumbai police will be compensated with flats meant for Project Affected Persons in various parts of the city wherever made available by the Slum Rehabilitation Authority. These flats are 300 sq feet carpet area in size as against the 500 sq feet BDD flats.
“For seven years the project has been stalled as no decision was taken on the status of these families. We want the project to be implemented and hence we took this decision,” said housing minister Jitendra Awhad defending the move to give service quarters as permanent housing to families of police personnel.
Awhad said there were families of policemen residing here for generations and whose male members have successively served in the police force.
The Government Resolution says the decision will be informed to the Bombay high court where these families have filed two petitions.
Activist Salil Rameshchandra said it is a big giveaway and would set a unhealthy precedent. “Government employees living in quarters in Bandra East have for long been demanding the quarters be converted into ownership flats. The tenure of an officer in a post is for three years and then they are transferred, hence these are service quarters. …in Mumbai, housing is a huge issue. What happens to serving officials?” he asked.