NMMC vacates two illegal buildings on SC orders, 170 families rendered homeless | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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NMMC vacates two illegal buildings on SC orders, 170 families rendered homeless

Jan 31, 2024 07:38 AM IST

The residents’ ordeal dates back to 2011 when NMMC officials came to inspect plots 148 and 149 reserved for a public garden by CIDCO and instead found two fully occupied buildings constructed illegally on these plots

MUMBAI: Ashok Kumar and Dinesh Kumar from UP had shifted to Krishna Complex in Nerul’s Sector 16 A just four months ago. But on Tuesday evening, they were in line to collect their belongings from their one-BHK flat in the society.

Navi Mumbai, India - Jan. 30, 2024:Water & electricity disconnected by NMMC in Twin illegal buildings at Nerul in Navi Mumbai, India, on Tuesday, January 30, 2024. (Photo by Bachchan Kumar/ HT PHOTO) (HT PHOTO)
Navi Mumbai, India - Jan. 30, 2024:Water & electricity disconnected by NMMC in Twin illegal buildings at Nerul in Navi Mumbai, India, on Tuesday, January 30, 2024. (Photo by Bachchan Kumar/ HT PHOTO) (HT PHOTO)

Deepak Khatri, owner of Flat A 103, too was rendered homeless after the anti-encroachment department of the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) sealed the society premises on Tuesday. The Kumars and Khatri were among the 170 flat occupants of Krishna Complex and Trimurti Park who were in utter shock and disbelief as officials began affixing notices on the flats and severed connections to electricity, water and sewerage.

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The residents’ ordeal dates back to 2011 when NMMC officials came to inspect plots 148 and 149 reserved for a public garden by CIDCO and instead found two fully occupied buildings constructed illegally on these plots. Notices were issued against the developer and an offence registered at Nerul police station. After a legal battle in the high court and Supreme Court that ended on November 23, 2022, the order to vacate the premises was carried out.

“There was no one at home when NMMC sealed the building,” said Ashok Katke. “I was driving my boss when I got a call from the society asking me to come back immediately and procure my belongings. I have not informed my children and have no idea of what to do next.”

House owners were in deep shock at the development. Kashinath Rajgudey, a loader in a fish market, had purchased a one-room-kitchen flat in 2022 for 13 lakh. “I wanted to give a proper house to my sons as we currently live in a slum in Ghatkopar,” he said. “I had taken a loan from the bank as well as borrowed money from relatives for this. I am still wondering: if the building was illegal, how was the registration process done? I have even paid a stamp duty of 80,000.”

Similar questions were raised by owners assembled at the society entrance. “As per information procured through RTI, we realised that since 2011, the NMMC has been consistently issuing notices declaring the construction work illegal,” said Kiran Dhandrut. “Couldn’t it have stopped the work itself? Even the local corporator was aware of the wrongdoing, but turned a blind eye. And today we have to bear the brunt.” The residents have now decided to stage a dharna at the NMMC headquarters.

Municipal commissioner Rajesh Narvekar said the corporation was merely executing orders given by the Supreme Court. “The order to vacate the building was given by the SC in 2022, with six months’ additional time to allow the residents to find alternate accommodation,” he said. “The NMMC also gave another eight months’ time to the occupants. The sealing of the premises is being done after following due legal process.”

Dr Rahul Gethe, deputy municipal commissioner, encroachment, said the forceful eviction was on court orders. “We tried to convince the residents for over a year to vacate peacefully,” he said. “A report will be submitted in court and it will be determined whether the building needs to be demolished. NMMC will act accordingly.” Seven more buildings in the area are likely to be vacated in the coming days.

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