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Low-cost Housing’for High Ranking IAS-IPS Officials: Affordable Housing, Mumbai Style.

When we gave to ourselves our Constitution, we also installed government machinery which would be responsible for and committed towards ensuring a dignified life to all citizens of this country. This included housing for the economically weaker sections and low income groups of the society, who are unable to fend for themselves in the face of artificially inflated land prices. So far, the Government has answered this responsibility by coming out with policies that favour the poor – but only on paper. The actual implementation has bred a nexus of power and money which has thrown us in the midst of a vicious circle whereby affordable housing is increasingly being put out of reach of the poor. In the name of housing the poor, the elite are the one's who are benefiting by twisting the rules.

And all this is best exemplified in Mumbai, the 'financial' capital of this country, which now is on the path of being transformed into a Global Financial Hub and a 'world class city'. Though, as per the government records, about 50 % of city's children are malnourished and more than half of its population is forced to stay in in-human conditions devoid of any humane housing and basic services. On what basis can it be called a world class city, is the question remains unanswered.

Market subsidizing our Bureaucrats : Mira CHS, Oshiwara The Mira Cooperative Housing Society was formed in 2002 by the then BMC Municipal Commissioner P M Bayas, with over 50 bureaucrats. Land was allotted to the Society in Oshiwara, Lokhandwala by MHADA to construct a residential complex. However, the Society also constructed a shopping complex on this land and sold these shops. The money thus earned was used to subsidize the construction cost of the flats to be allotted to bureaucrats from around Rs.70 lakhs to Rs.23 lakhs. The construction undertaken has been in violation of the provisions of Development Control Regulations formulated under the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act 1966. BMC should have stopped the construction of the shopping complex as per law, but turned a blind eye.

The beneficiaries of these illegalities include high ranking IAS & IPS officers including Sh. Chandershekar who in the past headed MMRDA and ruthlessly implemented the World Bank funded Mumbai Urban Transport Project by evicting more than 1 lakh people, ironically he was awarded for 'Excellent Public Services' by our Prime Minister last year.

The other Beneficiaries of above mentioned illegalities include:

IAS officers Apurva Chandra, Maninder Singh Gill, SVR Srinivas, SK Sharma, O P Gupta, Subrato Patil, V N More, Mahesh Khullar, Vinita Singhal, M N Kherkhetta, Sanjeev Kumar, Arvind Singh, K P Bakshi, Baldev Singh IPS officers DCP Naval Bajaj, V K Chaubey, Amitesh Kumar, V Kargaonkar, Prashant Burde, S B Sawarkar

IPS officers encroach plot reserved for Police Housing: Vasundhara CHS, Juhu On 21st May 2001, the then Mumbai police chief M N Singh wrote to the state government about the de-reservation of Plot 194-A2 which had been reserved for police quarters since 1974. The rationale given was that this land had been unused for 26 years and was likely to be encroached, but there were a group of IPS officers who were willing to form a society to construct a residential complex for themselves. The land was de-reserved and was acquired by the officers from the JVPD scheme for development. However, the de-reservation was given the go- ahead with three conditions: upon completion of these flats the beneficiaries would vacate their government quarters and not use any official residence while in service in Mumbai; they would not sell/ lease or rent out these residential premises; and 2000 sq yards of the total 6500 sq yards might be used for building police quarters to address its shortage in north Mumbai. At least 34 IPS officers were allotted flats in two nine-story buildings of Vasundhara Cooperative Housing Society. In a blatant violation of the stipulated conditions mentioned above, some officers are yet to vacate their official staff quarters, and have also made lease agreements with private firms at commercial rates. Thus instead of vacating their official accommodation they continue to stay there only and the new houses have been leased or given on rent, earning 1-1.5 lakh per month. A swimming pool has been constructed on the 2000 sq yards plot. Two apartments have been converted into a club for the society members.