CORRUPTION IN REDEVELOPMENT OF
Mumbai Redevelopment in Housing Colonies is a big business for Managing committee members, builders, criminals, bureaucracy and politician. They get a large cake in this process. While tenants are compelled to make a piece-meal deal on their own property. Mighty builders try to purchase the influence through their money power and muscle power while majority of tenants have no voice. A kind of compulsory redevelopment is happening. Individual and minority members have no say on this issue as per govt. policy. A large scale corruption is happening. The members/ old tenants getting a meagre 323 sq.ft. as the govt. fixed a ceiling for tenants. In this case, builders tries to cheat the tenants saying that they are only eligible to get 323 sq.ft. There is no much benefit for the tenant, instead they are loosing many thing like car parking space, open ground, high maintenance & property taxes, low quality of construction, non-occupancy certificates, less water supply, difficult to climb stairs when there is no light, residential place converted into commercial making more nuisance to residents and residential area, not following proper fire and safety guidelines, no proper earth quake proof, lack of ventilation, lack of open place, less height on room from the present room, no balcony and balcony space also included in the carpet area, inferior quality of construction creating more leakages, and heavy maintenance/ repair required for after initial years, most of the utility and other services available at a higher prices, new and wealthy tenants come into majority and make old tenants minority in numbers and less attention to their wing and other problems of the society. The lists of problem are endless. The other major problem is that builder will use and occupy major portion of the area which is mainly on the front side and at the end of back side, the tenants wing will be developed. Whatever the redevelopment of old societies done, this kind of problem is always there.
It is a lucrative business today just get elected as a Chairman/ Secretary/ Treasurer or committee member, you will get good benefit from members. These elected members have no accountability and responsibility and what they want can be done. Once they get elected and after getting our written consent for redevelopment, it is the of M.C. members and Builders. Builder offer to the M.C. members a fully furnished large flats free of cost to each M.C. members worth Rs.40 lakhs + worth to each main member of M.C. committee and other cash bonanza offer. Apart from this the society M.C member siphoning off old society funds by making unwanted expenses or just making vouchers of expenses. Now it is an acceptable among the builder that in every society builder try to divide and rule by making vertical split among the members of the society and Managing committee. M.C. members are ready to bribe and side anybody and all concerned authorities. In such case, even the concerned authorities know there is large scale of corruption, they don’t want to investigate and take action against any society or its M.C. members or builders. They are always part and parcel of this system. From top to bottom there is corruption. The politician/ police/ bureaucracy/ underworld have also large benefit of this redevelopment. Whenever such complaint is raised, they inform each other to suppress the information and take future course of action. In this process, the builder have enough money to face any consequence, society M.C. members alongwith members try to threaten minority members who is trying to voice their opinion and ask to more additional space like upto 500 sq.ft. carpet. Builder did not agree to part with other members. Instead they try to divide the society and rope the managing committee to their side by extending the benefit equally by society members and builder. The other members have a major looser in this business. Apart from this, builder can illegally construct more flats and did not follow the MHADA/BMC ‘written’ norms which later ended not getting O/C from concerned authorities.
Whatever the underhand deal is done, there one cannot make any documentary evidence. This is the great success of M.C. and builder. Whatever deal is done which will be made in black only. Still after all this bribe and corruption, the builder come out with an enormous profit of Rs.10 cr. and more from each building, especially in old MHADA housing societies building and other societies. The more bigger, the corruption amount and profit will be vary. For all this action, Maharashtra Govt. and Central govt. have a silent support on this issue, because builder-politician nexus is deep rooted and today, it seems that govt. and democracy is for the builder, by the builder and to the builder. The grievances of large section of poor members never ever accounted and they are not ready to investigate and prosecute the culprits engaged in such activities. Builder openly challenging members and threaten them with dire consequences with the support of M.C. members This is the regular scene where there is redevelopment in Mumbai. Even judiciary also supporting the builder due to their political support and money and muscle power. The plan submitted to the society members and actual plan always differ. The builder never try to reveal the information submitted to the appropriate authorities and M.C. and builder function in a mysterious and secretive manner. After just giving consent, ordinary members did not know what is happening to their building redevelopment, what kind of documents submitted, whether the builder/ committee members informing ordinary members the details from time to time, whether they are acting according to the law. If the meeting called for what is the topics discussed, whether the members are getting proper information or not the authorities and govt. don’t know. Never conduct meeting in the presence of any forum, authorities so that correct facts not either reaching to appropriate authority or members. The other disadvantage is that on the part of committee members strength, the old tenants are displaced and staying at different place. The society managing committee members never reveal information of tenants contact or try to contact the members even if the authorities called for, because they know that the will be exposed.
The builder having great connection with police, many a time, some members facing threat from police and they try to implicate in false cases due to the close association of builder/ underworld. This kind of many unreported things happening in Mumbai redevelopment scene and even no media want to take up this story.
One might wonder to note that such problem already faced by tenants in Ghatkopar, Tilak Nagar, Chembur and other parts of the city. Despite such large corruption, govt. is reluctant to take any action and isolated and powerless members are not ready and willing to expose this fact before the authorities due to the above factors. Hence responsible media and NGO like Karmayog can play a major role to encourage people to come forward and part their problem and find solution.
Therefore we are making some suggestion which will benefit greatly to all members of the society and corruption can be prevented maximum extend.
1. All powers, authorities vested in Managing committee members should be suspended and take over a high powered authority comprising of Maharashtra Housing Federation, NGOs, MHADA, BMC, and special body of experts like eminent persons from all walks of life who have well versed with such developments with the consent of all members for all existing and future redevelopment of the building. Today individual / minority members complaint/ grievance are not considered by the govt. as well as different authorities.
2. Every individual members complaint/ anonymous complaint should be genuinely investigated in the interest of old tenants.
3. The existing committee should be dissolved and put in suspended animation and new agreements with new terms and conditions with more space like 500 sq.ft. should be provided to each and every members, instead of mere 323 sq.ft. with proper amenities, rent, corpus and other benefits etc.
4. Builder should not be allowed to book the flat before making the foundation and use and occupy of front side of the area by builder discharged. Builders and society members should equally get front portion and create such a plan.
5. Name and address of all members with present and phone no. should be taken by the appropriate authorities and common contact number of the authority should be provided so that they can be contacted.
6. Committee/ any other members should not allowed to spend/ collect any money on behalf of society for any expenses of the society. Many a times, managing committee used to spend lavishly for their own benefit from the society’s fund which is a regular scene in Mumbai Housing societies. There is no accountability and transparency on collection and spending on this issue. The Managing Committee used to act like a Landlord while other members have to succumb the pressure.
7. There is growing pressure and involvement of underworld and politician and police. on this issue which should be avoided and appropriate measures adopted. The problem is not limited to builder-and this group like earlier, now they try to threat ordinary members/ on behalf of builders and society managing committee members which is quite unfortunate.
8. A new special empowered committee should be appointed to look after the grievances of old tenants and redevelopment of the old building and address new issue and find out new mechanism put in place.
9. This is not just housing society, it is also happening in trusts, commercial organisation/ association, traders, shop keepers association etc. They also adopt similar practice while redevelopment or day to day maintenance of the said society.
10. Govt. must make a new rule of law which should reduce the power of Managing committee members and society and individual members should have great freedom and say on the society issues. On collection and spending donation/ repair and other expenses also such stiff regulation and control is necessary. No committee/ society should be allowed to spend without every individual consent of the members and proper check on society’s spending and other related issues should be made and proper accounting standard should be created with multiple agencies to ensure proper check. Just making vouchers on maintenance, repair and other expenses should not be enough and should be a thorough scrutiny.
11. If the society found M.C. found guilty, criminal proceedings should be taken against them so that such problem can be maximum avoided.
12. Good media awareness should be created among members their rights and duties in the society, and how they can make accountable to Managing committee. This kind of problem facing from SRA to all section of society which the govt. have not much say and control which need to be tightened while individual members should be given maximum freedom and say on the society matters. If need be, other countries model bye-laws and accounting standards and other mechanism can be adopted.
13. Govt. should take necessary steps in preventing such malpractices in the Housing societies. Media should take initiative because on society matters, it has a wider audience especially in urban civil society. Such initiation can help in exposing corrupt practices in society affairs and members encouraged to come forward by giving necessary protection so that a new model bye-laws and other mechanism can be created in the interest of public at large.