Mumbai High Court Indicts Hiranandani Developers; Orders Stopping of Further Construction
Mumbai, February 22 : “It is a victory of the struggles of the working classes of Mumbai who live in slums, bastis and chawls, face eviction and are constantly termed as ‘encroachers’. The interim judgement of Mumbai High Court today vindicates our stand and once again proves the criminal nexus between builders, politicians and bureaucracy. We welcome the directions of the Honourable Court and hope the land will be returned to the original owners or used for the urban poor. It is ironical that the Government of Maharashtra was kind enough to give 300 Acres of land to Hiranandani at the rate of 40 paisa per acre but has continued to evict and break the homes of basti dwellers in Mandala, Sathe Nagar, Golibar, Kannamwar Nagar and others,” said Medha Patkar.
She was reacting to the interim judgement in a PIL filed by her against Niranjan Hiranandani for irregularities and fraud in development of Hiranandani Gardens, township in Powai. Mumbai High Court bench presided by Chief Justice Mohit C Shah and Smt Roshan Dalvi today ordered immediate halting of all construction and directed the developers not to sell any flats without the Court order. The case was argued by Advocate Ashish Mehta on behalf of the petitioner, Medha Patkar of Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan – National Alliance of People’s Movements. In earlier years the case was argued by senior advocate Y P Singh.
Court accepted criminal intent and illegality in land allotment to the Hiranandani Developers and building of the Hiranandani Gardens it said the petitioners are free to initiate criminal proceedings against the Developers, State Government and other Statutory authorities.
It ordered the developers to construct 3,000 flats (1500 flats of 400 Square feet and 1500 of 800 square feet) to be handed over to the State Government, which will allot it to the Lower Income Group and Middle Income Group people at the rate of 135 Rs / square feet, the rate prevalent in 1985. The land in question was, actually given on lease to Hiranandani for building houses for poor people but in gross violation of all terms and conditions it built sky scrapers, housing societies, Malls etc for rich and big businesses.
While posting the case for final hearing on March 29th 2012 Court directed MMRDA, Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, State Government, Developers and Petitioners to jointly prepare diagrams showing the extent to which the FSI and TDR has been used and how much remains to be used. Court accepted the contention that huge losses has been incurred by the government due to violations by the Hiranandani developers but didn’t pass any judgement on that since there is a separate arbitration case ongoing in Mumbai High between the State and Developers.
Members of Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan expressed their satisfaction at the progress and said they will wait for the final judgement in March2012. Millions of working class people have a right to decent housing and it is time state government started evicting the big builders who have encroached upon the public and other land meant for housing of urban poor. Let government use the land above ceiling available in Mumbai for implementing of the right to housing. Let them implement Rajiv Awas Yojana. Our struggle against the Builders will continue and we will continue to expose their corruption.
Sumit Wajale, Prerna Gaekwad, Santosh Thorat, Madhuri Shivkar, Madhuri Variyath
Contact : 9423965153 / 981998059
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