Navi Mumbai residents criticise CIDCO over housing project

MUMBAI: Residents of Khandeshwar, Kamothe, Kharghar and Navi Mumbai have come out against City and Industrial Development Corporation’s (CIDCO) project of constructing 90,000 homes under the Prime Minister Awas Yojana (PMAY) for economically weaker sections of the society. The residents claim the plot on which the project will come up was reserved for, among other things, a bus depot and playground, and CIDCO changed its status without following necessary procedures.

The residents, led by state Congress general secretary and spokesman Sachin Sawant, met Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde on Wednesday and asked him to move the project somewhere else.

CIDCO was going to develop a plaza outside Kamothe Station, just as it did outside Vashi and Belapur Stations, Ranjana Sadolikar, a resident, told Mumbai Mirror, adding it had even allocated Rs 125 crore for the project. However, CIDCO changed the plan without consulting anyone and decided to use the 11-acre plot for the housing project, she said.

“CIDCO did not carry out due process for changing the reservation. It should have invited suggestions and objections from citizens and heard them out, but nothing of this sort happened. CIDCO started work on the housing project even before getting the mandatory clearance from the Union environment ministry,” Sadolikar said.

Even before the Ministry of Environment nod, nearly Rs 800 crore had been disbursed to contractors as ‘mobilisation advance’, Sawant said. “There were large-scale irregularities in awarding the contract. Even the Comptroller and Auditor General has confirmed this.”

The vice-chairman and managing director of CIDCO, Lokesh Chandra, denied the charges. All due process prescribed under the law was carried out before deciding to build the housing project on that particular plot, he said. “In fact, a bus depot and truck terminal will be constructed as per plan. All the buildings will be on stilts; the bus depot and truck terminal will be underneath.”

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