Transit flats on rent: MBMC eviction drive out of steam

Bhayandar: Stiff resistance by locals compelled Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) and police officials to wind up their drive to evict illegally-occupied flats in Lodha Aqua.

Lodha Aqua is one of the highrises used to provide alternate and transit accommodation to beneficiaries of rehabilitation, including those under the Basic Services to Urban Poor (BSUP) in Kashimira.

The flats have been procured by the MBMC from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority under the rental housing scheme. To enhance the living standards of the urban poor, the MBMC had identified two slum clusters -- Janta Nagar and Kranti Nagar – to construct 4,136 housing units with a carpet area of 279 sqft per unit.

As per a public works department survey, of the 514 beneficiary families, 128 are under the scanner for renting the homes out to earn an extra buck, opting to build shanties in other localities. This despite clear rules disallowing beneficiaries from selling or renting out transit homes.

“A huge crowd gathered to obstruct the drive. We had to retreat as there was inadequate police cover. Subletting such non-transferable units to a third party is unlawful.

If slum-dwellers don’t occupy flats allotted to them, then it’s sheer waste of public money. Steps will be taken to nullify allotments and register police complaints,” said an MBMC officer.

Illegal tenancy of transit flats and those built under the rehabilitation scheme to accommodate beneficiaries has become a widespread practice.

Some have reportedly sold off their flats by executing memorandums of understanding with the help unscrupulous real estate agents in the twin-city.

By Suresh Golani

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