Date: 2nd February, 2011
All of you must have been following the news updates about the meetings and rallies upto midnight of thousands of Mumbai’s urban poor over the past few weeks, in the wake of the brutal arrests and forcible demolition of houses at Golibar (Khar), with the involvement of the notorious Shivalik Ventures.
As the families already evicted are still tying to come to terms with the cruel dispossession, we have just got news that a fresh batch of eviction notices has been served to 126 more families in the area and the Shivalik Builders along with the help of the Collector and police squads is all set to attack the Ganesh Kripa Society today, anytime after 10 a.m. Though the Notice is only to evict people and bring out the belongings, but they will surely attempt to illegally demolish people’s houses, as they did last time as well. We are told that more eviction notices to other families are in the offing.
As you now, many of Shivalik’s rehabilitation buildings are on the lands of the Defence Ministry and the Ministry has dragged the Builder to the High Court. Even as this litigation is taken further, the drive for forcible eviction is being pushed, since the prime land would fetch them hundreds of crores of profit.
A brief background note on the Shivalik Ventures is below. Kindly also look into yesterdays Times of India report below on “State ‘gifts’ 6 builders 500 acres of slum land”, which highlights the issues of concern with the 3-L cluster model of ‘slum development,’ questioned by many including media over past few years. With political connections both at the State and Centre, Shivalik, as it has been doing, will try very trick to break the law and displace people.
Please send immediate faxes and emails to the Chief Minister’s office and residence, calling upon him to issue urgent instructions to the district administration to stop these demolition and evivtion drives and instead institute an inquiy into the fraud and illegalities committed by Shivalik Ventures and take prompt legal action against it.
Contact the Chief Minister, Maharashtra Shri Prithviraj Chavan:
Phones: (Off) 022-22025151, 22025222, Fax: 22029214
(Res)23633051, 23634950, Fax: 23631446
Warm regards and zindabad
Simpreet Santosh Daundkar Shrikanth Medha Patkar
Ph: 09969363065 / 9892727063 / 09179148973
Background of Shivalik’s Illegalities:
The case of Shivalik is one of illegally seeking approvals at various levels from Slum Rehabilitation Authority to the Department of Housing, Mantrayala. It is well-established that the lands which Shivalik is claiming to develop were in the case of some co-operative socities allotted to them by the Government for development of their choice. The developers they selected received all approvals, which were later manipulated and in a way, purchased to make a ‘joint venture’ by Shivalik, without consulting and informing the societies. The fraudulent entries in the lists of beneficiaries (Annex -II of SRA’s procedures) are also exposed and an FIR is filed on the basis of the same.
The biggest fraud, however is that the only rehabilitation buildings constructed and accomodation offered to the evictees are on the land belonging to the Ministry of Defence, which is a 62 acres plot as against half-an-acre in the case of Adarsh scam. The Defence Ministry has taken Shivalik to the Mumbai High Court and the case is to be heard further Thousands of residents and members of many co-operative socities are, therefore, questioning this illegality of the Builder, who has also grabbed and used the land of the Customs Department and one near the Railways, against the laws.
The people living in the Trnsit camps are given much smaller accomodation than legally mandated and hence, although they await and hope to be beneficiaries, they too are cheated and many of them, are making common cause with others, who are challenging the Builder on various issues. A handful of persons who are favoured by the builder have always stood agaisnt the majority who are questioning corruption and repression at the hands of the Builder-State-Agent nexus. So is the case here.
THE TIMES OF INDIA
State ‘gifts’ 6 builders 500 acres of slum land
Nauzer K Bharucha, Times of India, Feb 1, 2011
MUMBAI: The state government used a little-known rule in the Slum Actto hand over almost 500 acres of slum pockets to six developers on a first come, first serve basis between 2008 and 2010. Property experts said these plots of lands have a development potential of about Rs 50,000 crore. Five hundred acres is equivalent to 23 Oval Maidans.
“Under Section 3K of the Slum Act, a builder who is the first claimant on the slum land gets to redevelop it. However, the issue here is of lack of transparency and awarding such projects without checking the credentials of the developer,” said a senior government official who did not wish to be identified. The controversial section does not require the developer to obtain the mandatory 70% consent of slum dwellers in the initial stages. This has led to fights between rival builders, court cases and allegations of nepotism, said government sources.
“The clause empowers the government to direct the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) to hand over a large slum cluster for redevelopment to a builder without inviting tenders or allowing competing builders to participate in the project,” said the official.
TOI has learnt that the latest slum sprawl—47 acres in Chembur—was sanctioned by the state government a month before Prithviraj Chavan took over as chief minister last November. Official sources said the new CM was apprised of the controversial 3K clause, which they said was being used to gift select builders vast slum clusters for redevelopment. They added that the son of a Union minister is involved in one of the projects approved by the government.
The 3K provision was inserted in the Slum Act in 1999, but was never used until almost a decade later when the first scheme at Golibar in Santa Cruzwas approved by the government. Permission was granted to Shivalik Venturesto redevelop 123 acres in Golibar in August 2008. A section of slum dwellers then sought legal stoppage of the project, but the Bombay high court cleared it towards the end of last year. Violent protests broke out when some Golibar residents blocked a demolition squad ten days ago.
Officials said that once the government appoints a builder, other developers in that slum cluster lose their right over the project or have to work in consultation with the selected builder. “Once the builder gets a foothold in the project, he can procure 70% consent from slum dwellers within one year,” they said. Housing expert Chandrashekhar Prabhu said 3K allowed the government to appoint any developer to redevelop a slum in the garb of “public purpose” and force residents to accept the builder as they are not left with any other choice.
Documents available with this newspaper revealed that in one 3K project approved by the government, the developer had the consent of residents of 18 acres out of the 66-acre slum sprawl. It asked the government to “direct SRA not to entertain and approve proposal for any other developer on any slum pocket on piecemeal basis” on this land. “Developer has stated that 70% consent of slum dwellers may not be insisted before the letter of intent (LOI) is granted…,” the SRA letter said.
Slum activist Simpreet Singhsaid 3K was never used all these years. “But in the past two years the government suddenly decided to give vast slum lands to some builders without tenders,” he said. “It’s a land grab in the name of rehabilitating slum dwellers,” he added. Singh said at Antop Hill, the state government approved a project by developer Ackruti City to redevelop land which belongs to the salt department. “The salt department has not given permission, yet the state sanctioned the scheme,” he said.
Vimal Shah of Ackruti said the land belonged to the state government, but a SRA note said it belonged to the Sion Salt Pan division, with a total area of 90 acres. “We are currently procuring approvals. There are some 18,000 slum dwellers, but 50% area is reserved for open spaces and only 30 to 35 acres is developable,” said Shah. He added that it will be a composite development with “lots of open spaces”.
In Kandivli (east), the government’s decision to give away over 100 acres to Ruchipriya Developers led to rival developers approaching the high court. Last year, the court directed the SRA to consider redevelopment proposals from other builders and pass appropriate orders. Kiran Hemani of Ruchipriya said the company had obtained consent from 7,000 slum dwellers of Hanumant Nagar. “We worked on this project for the past eight years. Some bad elements tried to create problems,” he said.
At Worli, a 3K project executed by Lokhandwala Infrastructure is also under litigation after some residents went to court, saying the developer did not have their consent. In 2009, then civic chief Jairaj Phatak wrote to the state housing department, seeking forcible eviction of non-cooperative slum dwellers and handover of the 15-acre plot to the developer.
Residents of the largest chunk of the Worli plot have said they are tenants of the municipal corporation with regular rent receipts and that they cannot be categorized as slum dwellers. Hence 3K cannot be applied to them, they said.