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Report of RTI Activist’s Union Meeting Held on 18th May.

23 May 2011 One Comment

On last Wednesday’s meeting of RTI Activists Union for Land & Building issues in Mumbai Metropolitan Region was held, some important findings were discussed, and key decisions were made. The Union is now increasingly hopeful of changing the course of development and construction activity in this city. Highlights of the meeting:

Contact details of 25 participants: http://tinyurl.com/18May-Participants

Meeting photos: http://tinyurl.com/18May-Photos


On May 17, a team consisting of Sulaiman Bhimani, Sudhakar Malpe and Vasudev Shenoy started surveying 32 SRA projects that MMRDA recently handed over to MCGM. The fact-finding team visited the Nesco and Nirlon sites in Goregaon i.e. nos. 22 and 23 in the list on page 3 of http://tinyurl.com/MMRDA-to-MCGM.

The team took these photographs: http://tinyurl.com/Goregaon-Survey-17May-Photos . They reported that the building quality and living conditions at these sites were quite reasonable. There were a few issues, such as water-proofing and leakage problems, non-functional electrical switchboards, missing window-panes etc. However, the team observed that the passages were reasonably wide (1.5 metres as opposed to one metre at RNA’s project at Oshiwara District Centre or ODC), decent amounts of space between buildings, good recreational open spaces, and good numbers of trees. Painting work was in progress. They found one building completely vacant at the Nesco site, and were told that the allotment of flats to project affected people was yet to be done.  “These projects were carried out under MUTP, financed by World Bank. This could be one reason for better work compared to ODC, which was carried out under MUIP,” the team felt.

New Projects Undertaken by the RTI Activist’s Union:

1.       Managing Committees of Cooperative Societies frequently corrupt, non-transparent and unaccountable to members. A majority of the persons present at the meeting felt, from their personal experiences, that a very large number of flat-owners in this city are facing major problems due to the undemocratic functioning of managing committees. The solution lay in educating the general public about laws and rules such as the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act 1960 (MCS Act 1960), MCS Rules, the powers of the Deputy Registrar of Cooperatives, and free guidance for approaching Cooperative Courts and Consumer Courts against managing committees and also builders/redevelopers. For educating the public and giving practical guidance, a knowledgeable team was set up, consisting of J B Patel jebypatel@rediffmail.com, Dr L B Tiwari SahayakNGO@hotmail.com and Bharat Gandhi bharatgandhi6@gmail.com . This team is quite confident that if the present system has sufficient checks and balances to enable even a lone and isolated member of a cooperative housing society to counter the bullying tactics of the managing committee. Patel and his team have promised to circulate a four-step formula for this within a few days.

2.       Stamp Duty Ready Reckoner is a good source of CT Survey numbers. Navin Pandya pointed out that the Stamp Duty Ready Reckoner can help activists to find out the CTS number for use in their RTI applications to Building Proposal Department. This book, costing Rs 300, is published by The Architects Publishing Corporation of India, and is available from 51 Sujata, Ground Floor, Rani Sati Marg, Near Railway Bridge, Malad East. Ph: 28835510 and 28834442, www.apcigroup.in,  apci@rediffmail.com . We will try to circulate useful information from this source soon. In the meantime, however, consider purchasing a copy. Ready Reckoner is available for Mumbai, Thane and Panvel.

3.       Bare minimum Section 4 compliance format: After gathering information over the past few months, we are now in a position to circulate a small but comprehensive list of key documents for Section 4 compliance from Municipal Corporations, MMRDA, MHADA etc. We will circulate such a list within a few days, along with a letter to petition the proper authorities to implement it.

4.       Modus Operandi of Builders: From a number of sources, we have understood the modus operandi that builders and redevelopers follow to cheat the general public and flat-buyers, flat-owners and investors. This is done usually with the connivance of concerned authorities, concerned architects, project consultants etc. We will publish a list of their methods, with specific reference to the procedural loopholes that they exploit.

5.       RTI application formats: We will publish a large number of ready-to-use RTI formats to enable RTI activists to expose the wrongdoings in land and building matters.

One Comment »

  • Suresh said:

    RTI activists’ Union is doing a yeoman’s service to our society.

    I am a member of a Co-operative Housing Society and fighting our Managing Committee on various matters of transparency and breach of laws. I have succeeded in some and in others, the force of ‘brute majority’ has voted out my concerns (not personal complaints)despite the fact that MCs acts of commission are “ultra vires” of the Act, Rules and Bye Laws.

    It is encouraging to know that the Union has set a knowledgeable team to deal with CHS issues. I will be interacting with this team on some of my doubts and certain lack of clarity in Bye Laws allowing MCs to take advantage of the situation. May I just mention a few?

    (i). Common services: If disposal of (a) solid waste is a common service, (b) disposal of liquid waste after treatment (sewage-toilet, bath, washing machine, kitchen)should also be a common service and expenses thereof should be shared equally by all flats. Our MC treats (b)differently and worst still, after apportioning electricity used for sewage treatment plant and maintenance of motors, bills flats on the basis of area of flats.
    (ii)Water: Now a days, all tower buildings have only one common meter for water. Our Thane M. Corp. charges our CHS @ Rs.160/- p.m. per flat, by a consolidated monthly bill, area of the flats notwithstanding. Our CHS charges flats by applying the present bye law on water, after adding electricity and motor maintenance as in (i) above.

    I think there is a need to issue a Notification by Co-operation Dept of Govt.of Maharashtra specifying that (i) expenses on all common services-not hitherto enumerated in bye laws, including but not limited to, sewage treatment plant,gym and club house, bore well expenses and others should be divided equally on all flats and (b) that wherever the Water Authority charges a CHS a consolidated charge based on no.of flats,the CHS should recharge members on the same basis.

    I would welcome more inputs on my thoughts.