Thursday, January 9, 2014

BMC gifts fire force land to builder

Without setting up the promised unit, civic body gives entire FSI to developer

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has doled out a plot reserved for the fire brigade to a private developer for commercial purposes.

While it is understood that the plot was allotted to the developer at the instance of the Shiv Sena MLA from Dahisar, the local MP from the Congress has asked the civic body to revoke the decision.

Documents with BMC’s development planning and building proposals departments show a plot on the Dahisar-Link Road near the east-west flyover — approximately 4.5 acres — as being reserved for fire brigade.

The BMC has allotted more than half the plot to a private developer for constructing two-high rises (19 storeys each, with the first two floors for stilt parking). In lieu of this, the developer promised to build the fire brigade facility free of cost.

But sources say there’s more to the deal that what meets the eye. While the builder has not constructed the promised fire brigade, the BMC has allowed the developer to ‘develop the remaining 50 per cent site to the full permissible FSI’.

This means the developer will consume all the available FSI — even from BMC’s share.

Sensing a major scam, the New Link Road Resident Forum (NLRRF) from Dahisar have taken up the case.

Residents claim the BMC commissioner himself has revoked the plan in May this year due to political pressure. The revocation order has been put on hold. “When the BMC themselves can construct a fire brigade and use the remaining land for public amenities or for providing housing to the firemen, why should it gift the land to a private developer?

“Is the civic body, with a budget of Rs29,000 crore, so cash-strapped that it could not even spend Rs50 crore to build a fire station on its own?” said Harish Pandey, a forum member. The forum is planning litigation against the BMC.

Municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte had, on May 28, given orders to revoke the commercial exploitation in a meeting with Sanjay Nirupam MP, along with local corporators and residents.

However, it is learnt that the building proposals department has given the Intimation of Disapproval (IOD) ‘in-principle’ approval for a proposed project to start construction the same day.

Senior BMC officials said it was after Nirupam’s meeting with Kunte that the BMC revoked the decision to use the land for commercial exploitation. However, local MLA Vinod Ghosalkar met Kunte afterwards and told him that commercial exploitation was in the interest of the locals as well as the BMC. “The decision taken to revoke the proposal should be implemented without any delay,” Nirupam said.
Geeta Desai @desaigeeta
Published Date:  Dec 03, 2013

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