Residents of the Simla Nagar slum, located on a vantage plot near Hanging Garden at Malabar hills, held a public general meeting early this year and resolved to opt for self-redevelopment.
Krishna Parte, chief promoter of the Simla Nagar Swayamvikas Cooperative Housing Society, said the residents have waited since 2004 for the builder, Esarac Construction, to redevelop the slum. The construction firm is promoted by Rajat Patel, Danish Merchant and Mukesh Talreja.
Parte said the proposed housing society has support of around 300 of 697 families residing on the 2.5-acre plot, which was earlier reserved for a garden/park and green belt. The Maharashtra urban development department deleted the reservations in April, allowing the plot to be used for construction. Deletion of reservation means no portion of this prime land will be utilized as a public open space.
“Despite sending the resolution for self-redevelopment and successive reminders since past six months, the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) has failed to do anything. We may be forced to approach the court to expedite our case,” said Parte.
Builder Danish Merchant, one of the partners of Esarac Construction, told TOI that he was aware that slum dwellers want to undertake self-redevelopment. “Let the SRA decide on their proposal,’’ he said.
According to him, the reservation has not been deleted by the government. “We wanted this green belt reservation to be deleted because it covers 30% of the plot. If we cannot build on that portion the redevelopment becomes unfeasible for us,” said Merchant. The notification of April 2021 said the plot is reserved for government staff quarters.
Property experts said the nomenclature “government staff quarters’’ means the plot controlled by Esarac Construction can be exploited by the developer for a slum rehabilitation scheme. “An SRA project here means this green slope suddenly has a development potential of at least Rs 2,000 crore,’’ they said. The proposal to remove the reservation was mooted when the BJP government was in power in 2018. It was finally sanctioned early this year under the current Sena-led MVA alliance. Sena leader Eknath Shinde is the state urban development minister.