Mumbai: At a time when Mhada and BMC are pointing fingers at each other over incidents of building collapses, an RTI query has revealed that the Mumbai civic body had handed over Rs 560 crore to the state housing authority which it had recovered as repair cess from cessed buildings in south Mumbai in the last 12 years.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) recovers cess from the eligible cessed buildings that come under the direct control of Mhada (Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority).
The BMC gets a five per cent commission on the annual recovery of the repair cess, while it deposits rest 95 per cent with Mhada exchequer.
Mhada and BMC has been at loggerheads over taking up the responsibility of illegal buildings and alterations carried out by landlords or tenants in the cessed buildings, which had resulted into many mishaps.
“During 2007-08 to 2018-19, the BMC recovered Rs 589.46 crore as cess from the cessed buildings from A ward to G ward and handed over Rs 559.99 crore to Mhada,” the BMC’s assessment department stated in its reply to a query filed by activist Anil Galgali.
The BMC kept the 5 per cent commission—29.47 crore. Galgali had requested the civic body to furnish the amount of cess collected by it, in its capacity as the tax collector, in the last 12 years and the amount paid to Mhada.
“In the year 2009-10, the maximum amount of cess— Rs 78.24 crore—was recovered,” it stated. As per figures available with Mhada, as many as 17,057 cessed buildings are primarily located in south Mumbai that are quite dilapidated and need urgent repair or redevelopment.
The cessed buildings are classified into three categories—’A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’, depending upon the year of construction, with the first category comprising the oldest buildings that were built before September 1, 1940.
“When Mhada gets almost all the money recovered as cess, which is approximately Rs 47 crore per year, then the first and foremost responsibility of maintaining the building lies with Mhada only. Therefore, in any case of incident or disaster, Mhhada cannot shirk its responsibility,” Galgali said on Tuesday.
When contacted, Mhada repair board chief Vinod Ghosalkar said, “I need to first cross-check the figures and then only can say something about it”. The divide between the BMC and Mhada came to the fore once again after the collapse of a four-storey building in Dongri in south Mumbai last month in which 14 people lost their lives.