It would certainly have been encouraging news for many of the Co-operative Housing Societies in Mumbai desiring for Self-Redevelopment rather than falling prey to scandalous and reprehensible acts of Builders in the area of redevelopment. However, it is pitiable for the city’s first Self-Redevelopment Project, The Ganesh Nagar ‘D’ Co-Operative Housing Society, a slum near the Arthur Road Jail at Mahalaxmi, Mumbai which has now been blocked for seven years due to suspected fraud in the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR).

In order to ease the stretched cash flows and improve the overall viability, a Self-Help Approach for redevelopment of their property was decided wherein each member would contribute a specific amount towards the construction cost with the understanding that any surpluses arising out of sale area at the end of the project shall be shared equally. Accordingly, a unanimously acceptable framework and suitable financial plans were finally agreed upon by all the slum residents in their General Body Meeting.

A total of 390 residents had taken it zealously and enthusiastically upon themselves to redevelop their Society with guidance from the Slum Rehabilitation Society (SRS) and they managed to raise a Corpus Fund of Rs. 27 Lakhs from among themselves to redevelop a plot of 3,800 Sq. Meters by constructing three seven-storied buildings. They planned to raise another Rs. 5 Crores through sale of the Society’s admissible TDR of the plot.

At the time when this ambitious project began, the Society laid down certain specific rules for the Redevelopment Contractor that it would make the payment only after three floors of the first building were constructed. The strategy of the Society was to sell those flats to meet the Contractors’ various bills.

It is said that good things don’t last too long. An alleged fraud and financial malfeasance in the self-helped project committed by Society’s Chairman and Secretary and their malignant acts not only left the Members juggling their time between attending the Court and Police Stations but has also pushed back the date of completion of the Dream Project indefinitely.

The Members of the Society were shocked when they found out that the Chairman and the Secretary, the key perpetrators of the alleged scam involving Crores of Rupees, sold the TDR at a rate much lower than the prevalent rate in the market. They even sold the same TDR to three different people through forged documents. It was an almost Rs. 5 Crores fraud as alleged by the former Treasurer of the Society who is fighting a legal battle and dealing with various complaints filed at the Agripada police station against him by the dishonest and scandalous Chairman And Secretary who themselves were already reeling under corrupt practices, alleged that the accused had been obstructing the redevelopment process.

The Members of the Society alleged that the Secretary and the Chairman have been stonewalling the process to let some Developer to take over the project and to get kickbacks in return. However, the Chairman of the Society brushed aside all allegations against him. He claimed that construction work has been stuck due to lack of liquidity. Over the allegations levelled against him and the Secretary of the Society, he retaliated that it’s those Members who have already received a house are nailing the coffin of Redevelopment Project and that not only has the SRS turned hostile, but the sale of TDR has also been blocked. The Chairman is now staging the need to bring the Developer to sort out the financial problem.