May 3, 2013

INDIA: A Residential Developer In Thane Added 4 Additional ILLEGAL Floors To Apartment Building. Owner Claiming Not Illegal "it is just that we did not take permission before building them"

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan tells assembly '57 buildings in Thane illegal'.

These ILLEGAL structures seriously need to be addressed by the Indian government. Building safety should be your number one priority and getting rid of corrupt politicians allowing such structures being built.

The Times of India
written by Pradeep Gupta & Bella Jaisinghani
Saturday May 4, 2013

A residential complex in Vartak Nagar, Thane, could go the Campa Cola society way if the municipal corporation decides not to regularize its illegal storeys. In 2007, Shiv Sena MLA and developer Pratap Sarnaik constructed four additional floors in his Vihang Garden-B project without approval from the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC). The jury is still out on what action the TMC will take - demolition or regularization.

On Thursday, the Bombay High Court dismissed an appeal by the TMC opposing the sessions court order to maintain status quo. The high court determined it was not inclined to interfere with the trial court order. However, it added that this order could not come in the way of taking suitable action according to law. The statement left both parties claiming victory, with Sarnaik saying regularization was "suitable", while civic representatives said they reserved the option of regularization as well as demolition.

Like several of his projects, Vihang Gardens is named after Sarnaik's son, who is now a corporator. The complex is divided into two segments A and B, of which the seven-storey structures in A are legal. Section B, on the other hand, had permission for nine floors but rose to 13 floors.

On Friday afternoon, staffers at the MLA's party office, located on the ground floor of the building, distributed copies of a letter he had written to the urban development department citing similar examples of projects that were regularized using TDR or penalties. Sarnaik said, "These additional storeys are not illegal, it is just that we did not take permission before building them. We have constructed a school that was handed over to the TMC and we had decided to utilise the accruing TDR to gain extra FSI for this project." He alleged that the TMC has regularized similar projects by 22 other builders but is targeting him for "personal reasons".

Thane municipal commissioner R A Rajeev was travelling abroad and could not be reached. However, another civic official who did not wish to be named said, "We have handed the file to the town planning department which will determine what action to take."

The MLA's advocate Kailas Dewal reiterated that the handover of the TDR certificate in lieu of the school would resolve matters. He agreed that the construction of additional floors in anticipation of TDR may have been premature but added the amended plans were submitted to the corporation for approval.

Affected residents of Vihang Garden offered guarded reactions, particularly in the wake of news reports that a Campa Cola-style demolition was in the offing. An occupant of the 12th floor, whose flat is being deemed illegal, said, "Realtors routinely construct extra floors if TDR is available, and pay penalties of Rs 50-70 lakh to get them regularized. The developer can at best be faulted for allowing people to move in without an occupation certificate."

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