Is ruling BJP shielding Siddhi group?
Siddhi realty group, which took AMC for a ride by not fulfilling its promise of contributing 25% cost for the Jagatpur railway crossing flyover, appears to have the blessings of the ruling BJP. The party has not just not taken any action yet, it is also seemingly ready to bear the 25% cost that group had promised to pay.
A controversial proposal was placed before the roads and buildings committee of the AMC on Monday seeking that the civic body bear the cost instead of the builder. This the second time that such a proposal has been put up, but a decision has been deferred.
Committee Chairman Mahadev Desai said the AMC was in talks with the builder about cost sharing. He, however, declined to say why no action had been taken in the matter.
In the present case, Siddhi group had initially promised to bear 50% of the cost to get the Jagatpur railway overbridge built, but two years later reduced the contribution to 25%. Then last year, it backed out completely. The AMC took the realty group for its word and started construction on the site; no paper work was done. But with the group backing out, all the financial responsibility now falls on the AMC.
It turns out that Siddhi group owner Mukesh Patel had put up the proposal to share the cost for his own benefit. There are several schemes promoted by Siddhi group, Savvy Swaraj and Godrej City in Jagatpur area, and the overbridge proposal helped Patel's group get a good response to its projects.
The builder then resorted to arm-twisting, and told AMC that he would contribute his share only if the corporation helps in getting his plans cleared by AUDA. Mukesh Patel mentioned this officially in a meeting
he had with AMC officials in May
AMC officials are of the opinion that strict action should be taken against the builder, but the ruling BJP has kept mum on the subject. Worse is, some AMC leaders are pleading with Patel to at least pay 10-15% of the cost, sources said.
Monday's proposal in AMC that it bear the cost of the payment default makes it quite clear that the BJP is shielding the builder.