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. At a time when the middle income and lower income group people, including those living in JN Type apartments are facing the heat of encroachment notices, NMMC seems to be amending rules for the rich, influential and elite living in Sector 17, Vashi or so it seems. NMTV Dy. Editor Sana Warsia gets you all the details with our weekend exclusive titled “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 and reducing the FSI according to the MRTP Act that permits only 1.5 FSI will create problems for residents already living in these buildings. 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 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? 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 one architect letter. Who doesn’t know that architects are not representatives of people but agents of builders? Perhaps that’s why though NMMC says architects have approached them, the corporation has no information about the names, the people and the plots that are demanding redevelopment in Sector 17, Vashi. The RTI activist says that while NMMC is projecting a need to redevelop buildings in Sector 17, Vashi – the same should not applicable for a new construction coming up in the heart of the Sector by one builder. He says that it is a commercial venture then why should the builder 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 recalls that the NMMC had made a similar proposal in June 2009 and when he had objected to it, the administration withdrew it. 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. On the other hand, both the Dy, Mayor Bharat Nakhate and Leader of the House Vithal More seemed to be in favour of the amendment. It’s another thing that both the leaders did agree that Sector 17, Vashi already reels under parking menace. What’s unfortunate is that while NMMC administration wants to amend the MRTP Act to regularize the illegal consumption of 2 FSI by the rich, mighty and elite living in Sector 17, Vashi and pass on the benefits to one particular builder who is building a new construction in this sector, on the other hand it is sending encroachment notices to slums and JN Type apartments. While the ruling front is not taking a clear stand on the issue, the opposition is more vocal about the unjustified proposal being tabled by NMMC to amend the MRTP Act. Shiv Sena Corporator Vijayanand Mane points out that is NMMC is regularizing the encroachments in Sector 17, Vashi, why is it sending notices to slums and JN Type apartments? He says whatever NMMC proposes should be uniform without disparity between the rich and poor. However, there is little hope of authorities treating the rich of Sector 17, Vashi equal to the poor living in slums and JN Type apartments as at the end of the day the law becomes applicable only for the poor while officers often play agents to the rich. While on one side, under the ruse of the High Court order, the poor, weak and helpless are being sent demolition notices, on the other hand the rich and the elite, who have already violated norms are facing no action, rather amendments are being made in the MRTP act by NMMC to accommodate them. Despite this grave injustice, none of the political parties are yet opposing unjustified proposed amendment in the MRTP act. Perhaps even this time round, it will be a social activist who will ensure that all are the same in the eyes of the law, acts and rules, be it the poor or the rich. With cameraperson Satish Garud, Sana Warsia for NMTV News.
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