Free Press Journal

Kalva residents sceptical of cluster devpt scheme

Many rubbished it as a pre-poll stunt

Mumbai : Residents in Kalva expressed scepticism at the news of the cluster development proposal, being sent for the Chief Minister’s approval on Saturday. A few said that they do not believe that the plan will get implemented so soon, while the others rubbished it as a pre-election stunt.

‘Cluster development’ has become a buzzword in this side of Thane. Kalva saw two building crashes last November in the Bhusar Aali area. Both the buildings had FSI violations. The homeless residents of ‘Annapurna’ and ‘Ruheen Manzil’, who have been given temporary homes in TMC transit camp in Vartak Nagar, had been told by the local elected representatives that their buildings would be rebuilt only when the cluster development scheme gets launched. One would expect words of joy from these residents when told that the scheme is awaiting the Chief Minister’s sanction, but on Saturday, the reactions ranged from scepticism to non-belief.

“Well, if the scheme is getting launched, it is good for all of us in the area” said Jayant Aryamane, in a submissive tone. We are eagerly waiting to get our homes back,” he added. Aryamane is a resident of ‘Annapurna’ building.

Fauzan Khatkhate, a resident of the Ruheen Manzil, expressed his exasperation on similar lines.

Naved Bele, another resident of ‘Ruheen Manzil’ was apprehensive about the implementation of the scheme and thought that this was just a pre-election stunt.

“About 72 per cent of structures in Thane, Diva, Kalva and Mumbra are unauthorised. How is the government going to give new homes to everyone? Where will they live when the construction is going on?” asked Bele. “These things are being discussed now as elections are drawing closer,” he added.

The proposal of cluster development scheme in Thane has been made by Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC). Corporation’s PRO Sandip Malvi denied that the proposal is part of a political calculation.

“We had made the proposal long ago, when the Lucky Compound collapse took place in Mumbra,” said Malvi. “Such decisions are to be taken carefully. I do  not think there is any election politics involved in this,” he added.

Local MLA Jitendra Awhad feels that there has been a delay in bringing the cluster development scheme.

“I have been demanding this scheme since 2003. Although the present developments are positive, I think there has been a huge delay,” said Awhad.

However, Praveen Wategaonkar, a resident of Thane, who was instrumental in filing the PIL in Mumbai’s Adarsh scam, thinks there are some hurdles in the implementation of the scheme.

“The incentive of FSI of 4 might prove inadequate as many builders might think of it as not profitable enough,” said Wategaonkar. “In a survey carried out in the area, it was found that the average FSI consumption is 2.75. In order to give a house to the resident at nominal price, the builder will have to raise money through open sale of surplus houses. FSI of 4 might not lure the builders in,” he added.