Bombay HC Criticizes State and SRA for Delays in Wadala Redevelopment Project

The Bombay High Court has strongly criticized the State government and the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) for failing to address the stalled redevelopment project in Wadala (E). The project, which has left occupants without their promised permanent accommodation or transit rent since 2013, prompted the court's sharp rebuke.


Justices Mahesh Sonak and Kamal Khata, in their order on Wednesday, stated, "The State and the SRA cannot adopt such an approach to the matter when the occupants who vacated their premises in 2013 are neither close to getting their promised permanent accommodation nor any transit rent." The court was hearing a petition filed by 20 members of Shaikh Misree SRA CHS. Omkar Realtors and Developers Pvt Ltd, the original developer, stopped paying transit rent in 2015/2016, citing financial difficulties. To date, the rehabilitation building work has not started.

Developer Change Proposal

During a previous hearing, the SRA informed the court that lender J C Flowers Asset Reconstruction Pvt Ltd had submitted an application to take over the project, including Omkar’s assets and liabilities. However, the lender’s advocate, Vinod Kothari, clarified that their proposal only sought a change of the developer.

Court's Directives

The judges asserted that the petitioners are entitled to transit rent and "cannot be made to run from pillar to post to recover their dues." They criticized both the developer and the lender for their unwillingness to pay arrears and reprimanded the State and SRA for their inaction. "None of the respondents are serious about solving the petitioners’ most genuine problem," the judges noted.

They highlighted that Omkar, despite claiming financial incapacity, is unwilling to relinquish the project to a new developer. The judges declared, "This unfortunate situation cannot continue any longer," emphasizing that Omkar "cannot declare that it has no means to pay the transit accommodation rent, which it is statutorily duty-bound to pay."

Immediate Actions Required

The court directed Omkar to deposit all rent arrears by July 24. If Omkar fails to comply, its Managing Director must appear in court personally and submit an affidavit disclosing all company assets. The judges also noted that despite having ample time, the SRA and State government had not made decisions on the proposals from Omkar and the lender, and were seeking further adjournments almost six months later.

Final Deadline

The court ordered the SRA and the State government to make firm decisions on the proposals within two weeks, aiming to expedite the resolution of this prolonged issue and ensure the occupants receive their due accommodations and rents.
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