Even as the CBI probes the role of retired generals and politicians in the Adarsh housing society scam, two more complexes set up originally for the welfare of defence personnel and war widows in Navi Mumbai have now courted controversy.
The two societies—Raghunath Vihar Army Welfare Society (RVAWS), which has 534 flats in 13 multi-storey buildings in Kharghar’s Sector 14; and the Army Welfare Society (AWS) Dara Enclave, which has 518 flats in 11 buildings and 38 row houses in Nerul’s Sector 9—are housed on Cidco plots allotted at concessional rates. Their occupation certificates were granted in 2002 and 1995, respectively.
The Army Welfare Housing Organisation (AWHO) —a Delhi-based welfare society formed by serving defence personnel which constructed the complexes to provide low-cost housing to servicemen and war widows— has served legal notices on the managing committees of the two societies, asking them to refrain from violating regulations laid down by AWHO at the time of allotment.
The bone of contention is the transfer of land and ownership of the plots. The AWHO has opposed steps taken by the societies to register themselves under the Maharashtra Cooperative Housing Society Act, 1960 (MCHSA, 1960). The move is being seen as an attempt to acquire conveyance of the plots. While AWS has already processed an application to be registered as a cooperative housing society (CHS) with the registrar of societies after getting a go-ahead from Cidco, the general body of RVAWS has also approved a proposal along similar lines.
AWHO advocate A K Tewari has threatened legal action against the societies.
In a legal notice, Tewari has said these were already registered as welfare societies under the Society Registration Act XXI, 1860, and therefore could not be re-registered under the MCHSA, 1960. The notice was sent to RVAWS on November 22, 2010; it was issued to AWS on September 30. Colonel P R Sirohi, secretary for managing director of the AWHO, has also written to the registrar of societies, asking it to refuse any registration request from the societies. The societies, though, insist the CHS formation was vital to overcome “practical difficulties in the day-to-day maintenance of the complexes”. Both have decided to oppose the notice.
Umesh Sharma, chairman, AWS, said their current registration—that of a welfare society under the Bombay Public Trusts Act—did not permit maintenance of housing societies.
Even colonel (retd) Shashidharan, secretary, RVAWS, said no specific rules were laid out for housing maintenance in the case of a welfare society. Refuting this, a senior AWHO official said, “Tasks pertaining to maintenance of a society and its development could easily be performed using provisions of the 1860 Act.” A few members of both the societies hold this opinion too. Col (retd) T S Tanwar, a resident of AWS, said the original transfer deed stated that the society was completely owned by AWHO and that society members could only maintain it. “No transfer of interest can take place.”
A RVAWS member alleged the re-registration was aimed at acquiring rights to sell additional FSI and TDR rights to private developers, a charge refuted by officebearers of both societies.
It is AWHO’s decision to allow civilians to purchase flats in the societies which is being blamed for the mess. As AWHO has collected charges for the flat transfers, its claim of being a “welfare organization functioning on no profit basis” is being questioned.
-via The Times of India