More than four years ago, 3,410 residents from 48 buildings in the heart of south Mumbai, Abhyudaya Nagar in Kalachowki near Parel, opted for cluster redevelopment, in the hope of getting bigger homes. They appointed a developer and carried out all formalities. However, for the past two years, the project is stuck in limbo, with no explanation from the developer on the reason for the delay, claim residents. The developer alleges the problem is the “unviable” stamp duty of ₹150 crore he is being forced to pay.
South Mumbai is dotted with old buildings that will benefit from cluster redevelopment, especially in areas of Parel, Lalbaug, Girgaum, Grant Road, Chira Bazaar, and Bhendi Bazaar. Consequently, the issue is featuring in the campaign of political parties for the Mumbai South constituency.
Mhada built the three- and four-storey buildings in Abhyudaya Nagar, spread across 33 acres, 60 years ago for industrial employees on a tenancy basis. Some homes were handed to government employees. However, after 1985, the government transferred ownership to the tenants.
The residents formed a cooperative society, and picked a developer, Rustomjee Developers, by popular vote in 2015. They agreed on a certain amount to be paid towards a corpus for maintenance of the housing society once the redevelopment was completed.
“One year ago, we signed an agreement with the builder. But he asked for an extension of one year to challenge the stamp duty for the project. This deadline was crossed on March 31, 2019. We haven’t heard from the developer yet. We had to resort to an RTI with the collector of stamp duty to find out what documents have been submitted by the developer,” said Nandakumar Katkar, 59, president of Abhyudaya Nagar Sahakari Gruhanirman Sansthancha Sangha Limited, a committee of 14 people elected by the residents to represent them.
Chandresh Mehta, director of Abhyudaya Nagar company, a Rustomjee Group company undertaking the redevelopment project, said, “The draft of development agreement has been put up for adjudication. The interim order has ascertained a stamp duty of around ₹150 crore which, in our opinion, is very high. We have given our submission with facts to the authorities, which is under consideration and final revised orders are awaited. We shall move ahead on our future course after receiving this. In any case, the redevelopment can’t proceed till the development agreement is stamped and registered.”
Katkar said, “More than 2,900 residents held a meeting with Shiv Sena MP Arvind Sawant, BJP’s Mumbai president and MLA Ashish Shelar and local Sena MLA Ajay Chowdhary. They all gave us assurances, but nothing progressed.”
Apr 14, 2019 22:44 IST
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