For decades now, the redevelopment issue of CIDCO built JN type apartments in Navi Mumbai has been hanging in the balance. Every election brings new hopes and new promises for the apartment owners and villagers, but all assurances fizz out soon after the elections. This time however someone whose words hold credible value is making the announcement. Our weekend exclusive delves deeper into how Thane Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik’s gift of 2.5 FSI to CIDCO dilapidated buildings has revived the hopes of residents. Shraddha Apartments Owners Association at Vashi is perhaps the epitome of the tragic tales of how dreams of owning a home turned into nightmares for JN Type apartments owners within years of construction. It was 10 years ago that the JN Type apartments of Shraddha compound were declared unfit for human inhabitance. Today, the CIDCO built apartments have become centers of neglect and apathy. Evidently, apartments’ owners are frustrated with the government. Those who were shifted by CIDCO in the Juinagar apartments are victims of the bitter realities of an insensitive and apathetic system. For apartment owners of JN Type apartments in Shraddha compound, shifting to Juinagar was suppose to be a make shift arrangement before their real homes were reconstructed. After a decade of waiting, apartment owners have either accepted the rude shock or have become victims of it. What you just heard is more or less the same living conditions for apartment owners living in dilapidated CIDCO apartments. FSI to CIDCO built apartments reeling under dilapidated conditions is perhaps the most burning issue that haunts Navi Mumbai today. And its not like the issue has never been taken up – problem is it’s been taken up far too often; mostly during elections. May be that’s why the victims of CIDCO’s sub standard constructed apartments are loosing faith but the first ray of hope that they’d get relief from the deplorable living conditions came when Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik had pursued the issue of FSI to CIDCO apartments during the Chief Minister’s visit to Navi Mumbai in June 2009. And with the Minister persistently following up the matter with the Chief Minister’s office, last week finally came with an announcement that revived the hopes of these residents. The public announcement was made by Thane Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik who informed that the state cabinet had given in-principle approval of 2.5 FSI to dilapidated CIDCO apartments. Post the Guardian Minister’s announcement, a section of people are terming it as just another point to score with the public prior to elections while others says that the prospect of 2.5 FSI to CIDCO buildings isn’t viable – one bone of contention being the infrastructural limitations of Vashi. But Standing Committee Chairman says that it wouldn’t be fair to the apartment owners of JN Type buildings if infrastructure was used as a reason to negate re-development work. He says that when 5 star hotels, educational institutes, central government buildings, constructions in Mumbai are getting 4 FSI and IT plots were turned into commercial complexes around Vashi Railway Station and granted 2.5 to 3 FSI, then why isolate CIDCO buildings case by bringing infrastructural hiccups. He goes on to explain that the issues related to infrastructure can be tackled if zone development of JN Type apartments is taken up instead of reconstructing single buildings. Citing the example of Ulhasnagar that got 4 FSI, Sandeep Naik says that positive attitude and proper planning will make 2.5 FSI a success for CIDCO built apartments. And even if the infrastructural issues are taken care, there is another obstacle – the case against re-development work pending in High Court. But the petitioner of the case Rahul Thakur says that they were never against re-development work. Their case in High Court is to ensure that a policy is floated for uniform development of actually dilapidated buildings. On the contrary, Rahul Thakur believes that the decision will benefit not only the owners of dilapidated CIDCO homes but even common buyers. Unlike all the previous assurances and promises, Thane Guardian Minister’s announcement is of credible value. This is because Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik has already set a precedent on this front with the re-development of C-Type Towers in Sector 1, Vashi. Everyone is aware that despite the obstacles and opposition that the C Type redevelopment project faced, Ganesh Naik pioneered the work and within two years of the demolition of the buildings, the towers were erected. The C Type also became the only reconstructed building to get the NMMC’s OC. At that time speaking to the media, Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik recalled how the apartment owners of C Type had approached him with the issue of the dilapidated conditions of their apartments and he had promised them relief. Even the apartment owners who got their all news homes had shared with us how their apartments were in dilapidated conditions and after reconstruction they have homes with all new amenities. They gave the credit for this to Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik. Since Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik is a Minister in the state cabinet and is also the Environment Minister, he reads the environment of the residents living in dilapidated CIDCO buildings. While the 2.5 FSI is being viewed as an election gift but with the municipal elections to follow the assembly elections, Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik will have no option but to fulfill his commitment making it a win win situation for apartment owners and common buyers. Zeba Warsia NMTV News.