In what is clear indication that the members of the controversial Adarsh housing society in Colaba, Mumbai hope to move into their homes at some future date, the society has written to the state government demanding that the water and electricity lines to the building be reconnected.
In a letter dated January 7, 2014, a group comprising 55 members of the 102-member society has written to the chief secretary of the Maharashtra government requesting that water and electricity supply be restored. The group of 55 members is a carefully constructed group of those members held to be 'eligible members' by the judicial commission of inquiry whose report into alleged irregularities in the allotment of land to the society and construction of the 31-storey building was first rejected by the Congress government, a decision reversed after the intervention of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
The society's move comes after the judicial commission's report, partially rejected by the state government in December 2013, has said that land belonged to the state government and not the Ministry of Defence. The report has also maintained that the land was never reserved for war widows. According to the Action Taken Report on the Adarsh matter, among the society's 102 members, 25 were declared ineligible for allotment of membership to the society.
The letter, signed by the honorary secretary of the society R C Thakur, states that the main contentious issue in the case was ownership of land and its reservation, both questions that have now been resolved. The state government has accepted these findings of the state government on the floor of the house of the state Assembly during its recently-concluded winter session.
"The only question that remains to dealt with is whether environmental clearance given to Adarsh society by the urban development (UD) department of the state government is in order," reads the letter, adding that the Bombay High Court, in this connection, had already held that UD department issued similar clearances under the same provision to National Sports Club Worli, YB Chavan Centre, Nayasagar Society and others and that such clearances are valid.
The environmental clearance to the Adarsh society was given unilaterally by the state government department after the MoEF advised the state government to check whether the proposal for the building was in order.
"So, there is no reason to believe that our clearance given by the same authority under the same provisions during the same period can be said to be invalid," adds the letter.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) revoked the occupation certificate of the Adarsh society on October 30, 2010, following the furore over irregularities in the allotment of land for the building and in permissions obtained from various departments, mainly the environmental clearances. Subsequently, the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport undertaking disconnected electric supply to the building on October 31, 2010. The civic body discontinued water supply on November 2, 2010. While some members of the society had been living in their flats when the utility service providers disconnected supply and had to move out, many flat-owners deferred moving in. The building has remained unoccupied since.
It would not be fair to deprive these 55 families of electricity and water connections, for no fault of theirs, the letter contends. "There are thousands of buildings in Mumbai having no occupancy certificates but they have been provided with electricity and water connections. The Supreme Court also held that water and electricity is right to live and there is nothing in the Electricity act to deny electricity to those who are prepared to pay for it," the letter states.
RC Thakur, secretary of Adarsh society, told Firstpost that the society is also writing to the MMRDA for restoration of occupation certificate. " A letter will be sent to MMRDA on Monday in this regard. We want 55 eligible members to be allowed to occupy the building at the earliest, " Thakur said.
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Updated Date: Feb 10, 2014 13:59:23 IST