Last week on weekend exclusive NMTV News had brought to you a report on how alleged NMMC mischief has been exposed again by RTI activist Sandeep Thakur. In a case that seems to be completely done to favour one builder in Sector 17, Vashi the NMMC has come up with a proposal to amend the MRTP Act so that buildings only in Sector 17, Vashi can be redeveloped with 2 FSI. As we followed up the report, many other angles of mischief has come to light one being that two of the three architect letters on the basis of which NMMC is planning this amendment are of one architect group. The same architect firm has submitted two letters of two letter heads. On the other hand CIDCO’s former Chief Architect and Planning Officer D G Parab has gone on record to say that the city does not have infrastructure to support 2 FSI. Watch the details on our follow up report with NMTV Dy. Editor Sana Warsia “Is NMMC amending the MRTP Act to favor one builder in Sector 17, Vashi?” Another NMMC mischief has been exposed by RTI activist Sandeep Thakur who is all set to take the civic body to court for their bias towards Vashi’s most congested and elite area – Sector 17. The RTI activist came across this on the NMMC website where NMMC was inviting suggestions and objections for permitting certain buildings in Navi Mumbai to be redeveloped with 2 FSI. The advertisement stated that these buildings needed redevelopment with FSI not less than 2. This is because, these buildings had already consumed 2 FSI illegally and now reducing the FSI according to the MRTP Act that permits only 1.5 FSI will create problems for residents already living in these buildings with 2 FSI. Evidently, the first question that arises is – when there is no law then how were these buildings that NMMC was talking about ever consume 2 FSI and where were these buildings? The reply of NMMC was quite a shocker – as all the 59 buildings that NMMC wants to amend the MRTP Act itself for are only Sector 17, Vashi. This means that all the buildings in Sector 17, Vashi are illegal as they have already consumed 2 FSI when there is no such provision under the MRTP Act. Surprisingly before inviting suggestions and objections to regularize these buildings by amending the MRTP Act, NMMC did not even bother to ask CIDCO, why were only buildings in Sector 17, Vashi given 2 FSI? What’s more startling? NMMC has not even done a survey whether buildings in Sector 17, Vashi need redevelopment or not. It is just assuming they do based on letters from three architects. NMMC has informed Sandeep Thakur that they were not approached by citizens but by three architects. These architects are the ones who were in turn approached by residents of Sector 17, Vashi for redeveloping their buildings. These architects have given this in writing to NMMC. However, on its part NMMC did not bother to get the record of the names, the people and the plots that are demanding redevelopment in Sector 17, Vashi. Since NMMC has no record of these people, NMTV News went to meet the architects to get a record of the people who approached them with the demands of reconstruction. It was here that some more alleged mischief of NMMC came to light. Well, there are three architects whose letters are attached in the RTI., one of the architect is one M/s The Firm belonging to architect Sandeep Gwash and the other architect is one Vishal Shah. When NMTV News visited the office address given by Vishal Shah at B/3/22, sector 3 in Vashi, we found out that the office is no longer at this address given to NMMC. A local informed that Vishal Shah is also a partner in the “The Firm” which have their office at commodity exchange, Sector 19A Vashi. At the Vashi office, neither Sandeep Gwash nor Vishal Shah were available to talk to us and all attempts to contact them proved futile. However, the shocker is that two letters received by NMMC belong to the same architect company and are just letters submitted on different letterheads. If we could find this out so easily, then even NMMC would have. This means either officials in NMMC are inefficient and incapable to perform their duty or they are playing hand in glove with only one architect Sandeep Gwash. And who doesn’t know that architects are agents of builders. And in this case, sources in NMMC allege that architect Sandeep Gwash is playing agent to one builder group, who is building a commercial project on this plot – in the heart of Sector 17, Vashi. However, RTI activist Sandeep Thakur says that since this builder group is making a commercial venture then why should he get 2 FSI for the project as the earlier premise was a bank and there are no residents who lived there earlier who will be affected if 2 FSI is not permitted. Sandeep Thakur says that if NMMC does not withdraw its proposal to amend the MRTP Act, he will move to court. It’s not difficult to understand if the MRTP Act is amended, then there will chaos as Sector 17, Vashi is already a congested sector with narrow roads and illegal parking that impacts traffic flow for whole of Vashi at peak hours. This was endorsed by the ruling party’s Leader of the House Vitthal More and Deputy Mayor Bharat Nakhate. However this man does not agree with NMMC and definitely knows more about the infrastructure of Vashi than any official of NMMC because he is the former Chief Architect and Planner of CIDCO. D G Parab was in CIDCO when Vashi was being developed and knows what’s underground and above the ground the best. And since he knows the infrastructure of Vashi in and out, he also knows that Sector 17, Vashi cannot take the load of 2 FSI. He goes on to add that people think that FSI is the gospel truth and it can solve all problems but fact is that it will only increase problems. It’s clear. Experts’ opinion is against 2 FSI for Sector 17, Vashi and there seems to be no credibility in the architect Sandeep Gwash’s letters given to NMMC. So there is definitely reason to allege that the proposed controversial amendment by NMMC is being made in the MRTP act by NMMC in connivance with the builder and his agent architect only to accommodate the builder’s group’s upcoming project in the elite area of Sector 17, Vashi. With cameraperson Satish Garud and Vinayak Dalvi, Sana Warsia for NMTV News.
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