Jitendra Awhad
Jitendra Awhad

Mumbai: In a major policy initiative, Maharashtra Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad on Friday announced three decisions. In a big relief for slumdwellers, they will be allowed to sell their new home within five years. He clarified that the five years would be counted from the day the slum was demolished as opposed to the day the slumdweller (the beneficiary under the slum rehabilitation scheme) had occupied the new home.

Awhad’s announcement came days after he had said that the state government would soon allow the beneficiaries of the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) projects to sell their houses in five years, instead of the 10 years stipulated earlier. On Friday, he provided further details of the lock-in period.

His announcement coincided with the notices served by the SRA to several beneficiaries for selling their homes before the lock-in period of 10 years. A committee comprising ministers Nawab Malik, Varsha Gaikwad and Anil Parab has been set up to take a decision in this regard.

Awhad strongly defended his department’s move to allow the beneficiary to sell homes five years from the day of demolition. He said such a move was necessary as it took five to 10 years or even more for the completion of slum rehabilitation projects, he added.

He further said the department would soon seek a legal view on expediting those slum rehabilitation projects that were halted or delayed because of a dispute between two builders.

Secondly, Awhad said slum colonies situated on the coastline, from Colaba to Dahisar would be developed jointly by the SRA and the Maharashtra Housing & Area Development Authority (MHADA). After the rehab tenements for slum dwellers were ready, the rest of the land could be auctioned, he said. He added it would be profitable for MHADA, which is currently strapped for funds.

Further, Awhad said the slum dwellers would get homes in the original location, and would not be shifted elsewhere. “sNear Badhwar Park at Colaba, there are slums on 32 acre along the coastline. Of the 32 acres, 300 sqft homes will be provided on 16 acres while on the remainder land the SRA and MHADA can build homes and earn money,” he noted.

Thirdly, he announced, the long-pending redevelopment of the BDD Chawls would be launched later this month, in the presence of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, NCP Chief Sharad Pawar, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray and former speaker Nana Patole. The project would be completed in the next three to four years, he said. He admitted that some modifications had been made in the building plans, whereby there would be no basement parking.

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