Builders and residents of the satellite city Navi Mumbai are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the high-level probe into the FSI irregularities found in 21 towers along the Palm Beach Road, albeit for different reasons.
There seems to be some confusion among builders, who want to know what action will be taken and by when, following the CM’s statement during zero hour in the state legislature. Builders claim that there is little clarity on what the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) has termed as ‘irregularities’.
An official from the town planning department, though, confirmed having received five applications for regularization from builders. “We will study their applications and if possible, the civic body’s senior authorities will decide whether to regularize them or not. In other cases, we may consider demolishing the encroachments,” said the NMMC official.
“We were informed about the proceedings during the zero hour, and are now awaiting the orders from CM’s office in this regard,” Navi Mumbai municipal commissioner Bhaskar Wankhede said on Wednesday. Asked about the allegations of corruption within the civic body that could have led to the FSI irregularities, Wankhede said, “No one has come to me with written complaints about any charges of corruption.”
Meanwhile, activists and citizens welcomed the CID inquiry and demanded that apart from the 21 towers on Palm Beach Road, more buildings with unauthorized constructions should be probed in other areas of Navi Mumbai.
Sandeep Thakur, an RTI activist, said, “Builders want additional FSI by hook or by crook. There is a lot of nonsense going on in the NMMC planning department as far as redevelopment is concerned. The concept of 2.5 FSI is absurd. It will only deprive the middle-class buyers and benefit the rich.”
In some of the buildings identified by the NMMC, residents have moved in as late as 2006. Some of the buildings were awarded the Occupancy Certificate over five years ago. Congress corporator Dashrath Bhagat, who first raised this issue in the standing committee of NMMC, said, “We have raised this issue time and again, but builders haven’t suffered a scratch. The corrupt officials are enjoying protection from the ruling party leaders. We can only demand a probe.”
Advocate Vinod Sampat, president of Co-operative Societies’ Residents Users and Welfare Association welcomed the probe. “The civic body must not allow builders to sell 20% of the total area of the property till they meet necessary norms and procure the occupancy certificate. Such a policy will help curb violations,” he said. “Not even 5% of builders procure building commencement and completion certificates. This is a gross violation. Those buying flats in underconstruction buildings are helpless but they can demand to see documents before making final dues,” he added.