BMC terminates RNA group company's contract for Wadala redevelopment
In a blow to a developer who repeatedly defaulted on transit rent payments to over 300 tenants, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on February 26 terminated the June 2006 tripartite agreement between the East & West Developers, the residents' society, and the corporation.
The civic body has also cancelled all approvals for the Azad Nagar redevelopment project in Wadala West, one of the biggest redevelopment projects in the city.
East and West Developers are part of the RNA Group.
The 27 tenants/ petitioners came to know about the development on February 27 during the hearing of a contempt petition filed by the Shree Azad Nagar Co-operative Housing Society in Wadala. The society had moved the high court after the developer defaulted 8 times on rent payments to 320 families despite Justice Gautam Patel's March 20, 2019, order. The petitioners wanted to know what action BMC had taken with regard to Justice Patel's order, which told the civic body to automatically terminate the tripartite agreement if the developer defaults two or more times.
On February 13 2020, the court sought an affidavit from the BMC within two weeks enumerating what steps it had taken to ensure compliance of Justice Patel's order.
On February 27, Keshav Ubale, Assistant Commissioner (Estates), submitted that the BMC had on February 26 terminated the tripartite agreement, the Letter of Intent of March 7, 2005, and the Deed of Confirmation of February 15, 2007 with East and West Developers as per Justice Patel's order after verifying that the developer had committed more than two defaults.
The civic body also told the developer that the payments it had made for the redevelopment scheme won't be refunded. The BMC also directed East and West developers to remove workers and equipment from the Wadala site within a week.
In November 2019, faced with immense pressure from the tenants over rent payment default, the Shree Azad Nagar CHS wrote to BMC Commissioner Praveen Pardeshi informing him that the society had adopted a resolution to terminate all agreements with the developer. The letter also urged the BMC to terminate the agreement and publish a public notice to that effect. Prior to that, over 200 tenants of Azad Nagar had staged a protest at project site on September 1.
The Azad Nagar chawls were 32 ground-floor chawls spread over a 8.5 acre land near Wadala bus depot. Residents impacted by the massive Dock Explosion in 1944 were resettled on this land. The project went into redevelopment in 2003 under Development Control Regulation 33 (7). In 2015, all the chawls were demolished and tenants gave possession of the land to the developer.
Residents said construction never commenced on the land. The developer stopped paying rent in 2017 to majority of the tenants, they allege.
When contacted for comments on the development, RNA Group spokesperson did not respond.
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