Mumbai: In a move likely to bring relief to several home buyers, the general body of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Thursday passed a proposal to revoke permission to developers who refuse to sell apartments to non-vegetarian households.
The general body, which includes 227 corporators from across parties, has demanded that BMC Commissioner Sitaram Kunte frame a new policy to make it compulsory for all developers to sell apartments to would-be buyers irrespective of their religion and food habits.
Sandeep Deshpande, the MNS corporator from Dadar’s Shivaji Park area, had submitted the proposal to Mayor Snehal Ambekar on 13 November and it was passed on Thursday. While BMC is currently ruled by the Shiv Sena-BJP combine, with Sena as the major partner, the BJP opposed the proposal and created ruckus in the general body meeting. Interestingly, all other parties, including Shiv Sena and Congress, supported the proposal unanimously. Despite the BJP’s opposition, the proposal with the backing of the Shiv Sena and Congress was passed by the voice vote.
“In a cosmopolitan city like Mumbai, there are developers who make their own set of rules and sell flats only to vegetarians or persons belonging to a particular religion or caste. Nobody has the right to deny a person from purchasing a house citing such reasons. Many such cases have been reported across the city and this is unconstitutional. Because of the insistence on vegetarianism, people from many communities are deprived of their fundamental right to purchase property in the country,” said Sandeep Deshpande, MNS group leader in BMC.
Deshpande added that this is a definite ploy from outsider developers, who are trying to drive out the original Mumbaikars from the city.
Political observers say the MNS, so far known for targeting North Indians, seems to have now started a new campaign against the city’s vegetarian population, especially the Gujaratis and Jains.
In the proposal, Deshpande has demanded that the BMC should not issue intimation of disapproval (IOD), commencement certificate (CC) and also not provide water connection to developers, who refuse to sell flats to non-vegetarian eaters. While an IOD is an approval of a builders civil plans, the CC authorizes a developer to undertake the construction.
Senior Sena corporator and civic standing committee chairman Yashodhar Phanase said, “There is a different kind of racism happening in the city, with developers denying entry to a particular community in their constructions.”
“Mumbai is a cosmopolitan city and there should be no discrimination on basis of community or eating habits. The rules should be made so that the developers are restrained from doing this,” said Devendra Amberkar, Congress corporator and Opposition leader in BMC.
However, BJP opposed the proposal stating that it was in violation of Supreme Court’s 2005 judgment. BJP claimed that the judgment says that the people with similar ideology can come together to form a society. “The resolution has been tabled with an intention of using the issue for the political benefit. An isolated incident somewhere in city does not define the entire city’s culture,” said Manoj Kotak, BJP group leader in BMC.
Earlier, Congress leader Nitesh Rane had also made controversial remarks against the city’s Gujarati-speaking community on the same issue. Last month, he created a controversy by saying that he wanted to join Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s ‘Clean India’ campaign by “cleaning” the city of Gujaratis.