Mumbai construction skyline
Mumbai construction skyline

Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis, in a three-page letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, has claimed that the Maha Vikas Aghadi government’s policies to help the real estate sector mitigate the COVID-19 effect are aimed and are resulting in a windfall gain to a few developers. The recommendations of the Deepak Parekh Committee are being selectively implemented without considering the real effect of the same. He alleged that certain vested interests have colluded for the purpose of extending benefits to a few handful parties at the expense of the state exchequer.

Fadnavis has said he was not against the rationalisation of charges to boost the demand, but was concerned about the blatant misuse of power under the garb of reforms. He has threatened to file a PIL if no corrective action is taken by the state government. The former CM’s move comes days after the state cabinet on Wednesday did not clear the recommendations pertaining to rationalisation of stamp duty rates, ready reckoner rates and premiums made by the Deepak Parekh Committee following strong opposition from the Congress.

Fadnavis claimed that the recommendations suggested by the committee "are being implemented selectively without considering the real effect of the same". “I must state here that the actions of the state government must be free from the vice of arbitrariness and must conform to Article 14 of the Constitution of India," he said.

Fadnavis also pointed out a "systematic method" devised to give windfall benefit to a few real estate developers by "fragmented and prejudiced reduction of ready reckoner of some of their self-owned and interest plots to the extent of 70% of the existing ready reckoners' rates". Calculating the total gains, he said that a few developers would make a windfall gain of more than Rs 2,000 crore.

“If the policy of 50% reduction comes into effect, the midsize developers of Mumbai, who undertake standalone redevelopment projects and slum rehabilitation (SR) schemes, would lose the competitive edge,’’ said Fadnavis. He further noted that SR schemes won’t be financially viable. “This would militate against the topmost priority of the state government, which should ideally be to have a slum-free Mumbai,’’ he added.

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Free Press Journal