Mumbai: In a first, Maharashtra Housing Area
Development Authority (Mhada), entrusted with the job of
tackling encroachments, has been dragged to the court by the
Air Force for allegedly encroaching on their land.
The Air Force has filed a suit in a City Civil Court
alleging that the Mhada has usurped over 50 per cent of its
12.2 acre strip of land in suburban Santacruz, which was
originally earmarked for a rifle range.
"The Mhada has approved annexure - II (eligibility list)
for the slum scheme as the land owning authority. The land has
however, been in the possession of Air Force since 1964,"
advocate Suresh Rajguru, appearing for Air Force told PTI.
No correspondence is also available with either the Air
Force or Mhada to show a transfer of the land in the latter`s
name, he added.
Out of the total area, 6.22 acre has been transferred to
Mhada, Rajguru said adding, "Four years ago, Shivalik Ventures
got the rights to develop the land through the Slum
Rehabilitation Scheme, which includes the rehab of over 26,000
"Representatives of the Air Force had in March visited
suburban Nirmal Nagar police station to lodge an FIR against
the builder and ensure that construction work is stopped, but
nothing was done. Following which we approached the court,"
the lawyer said.
The issue came to light when two residents - Abu
Tandel and Kalimuddin Shaikh - used the Right to Information
Act to dig out details of the rehab scheme.
"Already six buildings have been constructed on the
disputed land and some slum dwellers from the nearby Golibar
slums have been shifted to new flats. Another 14-storeyed
building is under construction, which should be stopped
immediately," Rajguru said.
The suit states when Air Force had initially sought
help from Mhada for removal of the encroachment, they were
asked to pay Rs 522 crore for rehabilitation of the slum
Air Force has sought a permanent stay on the
construction on the land and an order to demolish the
constructed buildings, Rajguru said.
The matter will come up for hearing tomorrow.