ACB notices create panic among BDD chawl residents

Mumbai: The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has sent notices to some residents of the Bombay Development Directorate Chawls in Naigaon, Worli and NM Joshi Marg, asking to prove their ownership of the houses.

These house-owners are not biologically related to the original owners and bought the houses after 1994. According to a state government rule, the original tenants of these chawls can only transfer ownership rights to other blood relatives.

The issuance of such notices to occupants who have been residing here for the last 25 years is causing panic.

A copy of one such notice in Marathi dated August 7 is with the Free Press Journal. It reads, "Concerned tenants should obtain an appointment on phone and visit the ACB office with valid documents to avoid any inconvenience."

The move comes after nine employees of the public works department (PWD) are alleged to have converted the bathrooms in various BDD chawls into rooms and staked claims to tenements in the redeveloped buildings.

Last year, a complaint was filed in this regard, following which the ACB has only now initiated an inquiry in the matter. While residents have welcomed the action against the PWD employees, they are however upset with notices being sent to genuine tenants.

Krishnakant Nalge, president of the NM Joshi Marg BDD Chawl redevelopment committee said the government had on April 24, 2018 issued a Government Resolution (GR) allowing those owners who bought houses after 1994 until June 28, 2017, and are not blood relatives, to legalise their property title by paying Rs 22,000 each.

Since these tenants had, at the time of registration, already paid Rs 10,000 to the government, they are now only supposed to pay Rs 12,000. Besides, Nalge demanded that the government should clear its stand.

"Since the GR is already in place, they should inform the ACB about its provisions. For a lack of communication, these tenants are facing hardships," he pointed out.

Madhu Chavan, chairman of the Mumbai Board of the Maharashtra Housing Development Authority said, "The government will ensure no injustice occurs. The notices have been issued to maintain transparency and ensure only legitimate tenants get new houses."

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