The Maharashtra Housing Area Development Authority (MHADA) is yet to recover around 13,000 sq m area from developers who were permitted to redevelop cess buildings, mostly situated in south and central Mumbai.While replying to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by activist Kamlakar Shenoy alleging that the authority has now recovered around 30 lakh sq m causing a loss of around 14,000 crore to the exchequer, it was said that the petitioner had misread the surplus due and arrived at a wrong conclusion.Relying on a chart of the number of projects completed under rule 33 (7) of the Development Control Rules, the authority said in 17 cases redevelopment work has been completed and 5734.26 sq m which is due is yet to be received. Similarly in 33 cases, MHADA has initiated criminal proceedings against the developers who have not surrendered surplus area, which is around 7392.88 square meters.The authority also informed the court that since 2011 developers are told to give an undertaking that surplus land will be surrendered to MHADA on completion of the project.On a question by the Bombay High Court, whether it has any mechanism to recover the surplus area, it said “It was helpless and did not have any mechanism of its own but it only writes to the collector asking him to attach the concerned area. The entire process is cumbersome.”The court then asked MHADA to give suggestions on the next hearing about the ways in which the state can delegate some powers to the authority to recover the surplus and also issue a policy to ensure that in future such a situation does not arise.Box: Expressing displeasure over the reasoning given by the government that the Maharashtra Assembly Sessions was ongoing and so a reply could not be filed, the court said “So have you locked Mantralaya?” and asked a responsible officer to be present on Thursday.
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