May be you have know idea but corruption is leading toy your city’s land being grabbed and how? Builders, politicians and officials at CIDCO and NMMC have formed a ring and are masterminding scam of sorts. Navi Mumbai News investigated one such that is consistently being raised by members at Standing Committee meets at NMMC and pertains to warehousing plots at Sector 19, Vashi. Let’s take a look with this exclusive report. The issue being raised by Independent Corporator Shivram Patil at Standing Committee meets for several weeks pertains to the conversion of warehousing plots at Sector 19 Vashi into commercial malls and multiplexes. When every attempt to get a reply from the NMMC administration failed, Shivram Patil sat down on the floor of NMMC meeting hall. The plots in question are these – Allotment of land to M/s Shakti Commercial Premises Society and Well Wisher Construction and Finance Pvt. Ltd. at Sector 17, 18 and 19, Vashi and B. Raheja. Put it together, and the land grabbed by private developers has cost the state ex-chequer a loss of Crore of Rupees. Let’s take a look at how builders and bureaucrats at CIDCO silently made this scam cornering city’s prime land for personal profits. The plot where the City Center Mall was made allotments including the shops and go-downs. A few months later, CIDCO MD Vinay Mohan Lal agreed for allotment of balanced unconsumed FSI in favor of the allottees at the rate of Rs. 19, 562 per sq. mt. The existing shops and go-downs were demolished to give way to huge malls and multiplexes. The fair procedure should have been to advertise the change of use and invite tenders, but the owners of City Center Mall were shown obvious favoritism. It may be recalled that City Center Mall had a very high profile bhoomi pujan that saw the participation of State Governor S. M. Krishna and CM Vilasrao Deshmukh. Later on City Center went on to become one of the biggest scams exposed in the Shankaran Committee report. The CS of the state D. K. Shankaran who had investigated the case, wrote in his report, “These allotments are in gross violation of rules. They are per se illegal, irrational and arbitrary. It has cost the state a loss of Rs. 35 Crore and hence needs to be cancelled.” Immediately after the report, the owners started the construction of the mall in a frenzied pace and erected the huge malls and multiplexes. NMMC had sealed one Shivraj Lodge at Airoli on the allegations that there was illegal change of use here. Sources allege that the owner was helpless, as he did not have a political Godfather. But the same authorities fail to initiate any action against City Center Mall at Vashi, which have been endorsed by the Shankaran Committee as massive cases of corruption. Why is there a biased approach on action being taken in two cases with similar violations? In fact, the City Center case is more serious in nature as sources allege that under APMC Rules, a warehouse cannot be used for any mercantile purposes by change of use rule. May be only a PIL can book the scams-ters and put a stop to this great land grab in Navi Mumbai.
February 3, 2016