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MUMBAI: Nearly six years after they booked their flats, buyers of a recently constructed property in Thane waiting to take possession now face another setback after the municipality recently declared the building a quarantine centre.

The civic body had received an application in February, seeking an occupancy certificate to begin possession at the C1 Tower at Bharat Ecovista in Shilphata, which was nearing completion at the time. However, on May 30, former civic commissioner Vijay Singhal passed an order converting the structure into a quarantine/isolation facility.

However, buyers and residents who live in the two other towers in the same compound have been up in arms against the move, which they claim is endangering lives of residents of the existing towers, including pregnant women and the elderly.

Radhika Disale, who purchased a flat in the new building in 2015, has been renting a flat in a neighbouring tower and has been fighting the decision to convert the building into a facility. The project, already delayed by three years (possession was expected in 2017), has been giving buyers like her a rough time as they not only have loan instalments to pay, but also monthly rent.

Disale told Mirror that the TMC had not responded to multiple calls and emails from the buyers, prompting the 100-odd future owners to attempt to contact both TMC Commissioner Dr Vipin Sharma and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, she said.

Sarang Bhumkar, another buyer, shared a letter from the property’s developer to the TMC dated June 6, informing them that many labourers had left during the lockdown, and that the building was nearly ready – except some wiring and plumbing work, which would take an additional 90 days to complete. “The builder has not opposed our demand that the occupancy be granted to us at the earliest,” he added.

“The new building is an integral part of the common entry and exit gated society, which has over 300 families who have been residing here since 2017, and there has not been a single detected case of Covid-19 so far,” said another buyer on condition of anonymity. “We have not only been dealing with monthly rent and EMIs but also recently announced salary cuts,” he added.

“There are a lot of open spaces under the TMC’s jurisdiction, including a big ground right opposite Thane Jail, where no residential buildings are around. This space was given on rent for exhibitions before the lockdown. The TMC thinks it is fair and justified to acquire newly constructed houses of monetarily suffering residents, without their consent and without paying them a penny,” the buyer said.

When Mirror contacted local assistant municipal commissioner Sunil More about the civic body’s order to turn the building into a quarantine facility, he stated that the TMC’s town planning department was answerable for the delay. However, town planning official Ravindra Kasar stated that there was nothing the department could do until the civic body rescinded the order.

As a result, the project has been stuck in limbo since the TMC’s order, as the building lacks the facilities to begin operations as a quarantine centre and the civic body has not shown any inclination to revoke the order declaring it an isolation facility. “I was told during one conversation that I should ‘forget about it’ as nothing has happened since May 31,” Disale said.

She added that the residents were planning to approach the high court, but were advised to support a writ petition likely to be moved by the residents of the neighbouring towers. “Some of our members are worried that once the court is involved we will be stuck in months of litigation,” she said.



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