BDD Chawl Residents Association asks ACB to stop investigating residents

There are in total three Bombay Development Directorate (BDD) Chawls in Mumbai situated at Worli, N.M. Joshi Marg (Parel), and Naigaon spread across 92 acres of land with 206 chawls

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A few days ago, the residents of the BDD Chawls received a notice from the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) which sent shock waves amongst the people living there. The notice had been sent to 500 residents amidst an investigation by ACB in regard to the unauthorised handover of the BDD Chawl flats. 

Meanwhile, the Anti-Corruption Bureau has managed to interrogate various residents but the BDD Chawl Residents Association have posed a question in front of the Bureau asking them why do they need to investigate residents that have already been authorised by the government. Accordingly, they have asked the state government to intervene and stop the interrogation against authorised residents.

What Happened?

There are in total three Bombay Development Directorate (BDD) Chawls in Mumbai situated at Worli, N.M. Joshi Marg (Parel), and Naigaon spread across 92 acres of land with 206 chawls. During 1947, there was a mass migration of people from various rural places of India to Mumbai. This was a threat to the city's management and therefore, the Bombay Development Directorate devised a plan for the city to avoid any hassles.

The plan was intended to aid sanitation problems, alleviate industrial development and relieve traffic congestion. The BDD undertook massive housing schemes in the city what is now known as BDD chawls. Amidst roughly 16,500 houses, 4,500 of them have been allotted to police officials.

However, the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) had been given the responsibility to conduct the redevelopment project through which, the residents who are currently living in 160 sq. ft. flat would receive bigger residences to live. 

Notably, all the residents living in the BDD Chawls are tenants and therefore, if they want to pass the house to anyone then that person has to be a blood-relative. Accordingly, they cannot sell the flat to any other person than a blood relative.

However, since the last few years, more than 3,000-3,500 employees had transferred the house to people other than their blood relative which was disclosed during the survey for the redevelopment project. Accordingly, the matter was then further forwarded to the ACB after it came to the Legislative Convention's notice.

Future of more than 3,000 residents at stake

With the future of more than 3,000 residents hanging by a thread, Kiran Mane, general secretary of Akhil BDD Chawl Bhadekaru Hakka Sanrakshan Samiti said,

The matter of unauthorised tenants came to notice during the verification for the redevelopment project by MHADA. The defaulters who had sold/ transferred the house to a non-blood relative had done that 20-25 years ago and more than 3,000 tenants have been involved in the matter. These tenants have been living under the pretext of being the original tenant's friend or relative. Meanwhile, there has been no mention of the amount transacted during the transfer of the flat. However, since there are so many individuals, we (the Samiti) request the officials to allow these tenants to continue living."

Accordingly, the residents who are unauthorised to stay at the houses received a relief from the state government who released a notification in 2018. Accordingly, the tenants who had shifted to the flats between December 12, 1994-June 28, 2017 in an unauthorised manner, can pay a penalty of ₹22,500 and become authorised tenants. Whereas those who are using the flat for commercial purpose despite being unauthorised, can become authorised by paying a penalty of ₹45,000.

However, despite paying the penalty, since the tenants have received a notice from ACB, there has been disappointment amongst the residents. They stated that on one hand they have been made authorised tenants whereas, on the other hand, the Anti-Corruption Bureau has called them for interrogation. Accordingly, the Samiti has asked the concerned officials to stop investigating the residents.

In response, the N.M. Joshi BDD Chawl Redevelopment Committee President, Krishnakant Nalge had stated that when the residents got the house for themselves, the notification had not been released. He added that after which, the tenants have been authorised after they had paid the penalty.

Therefore, he has reassured that no residents will be harassed from now and alongside, the committee will now take a look at the MHADA officers that were involved in the matter. He said that they had conducted a meeting with MHADA President Uday Samant along with Housing Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil who had assured that the residents will not be hassled anymore.

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