Bombay Municipal Corporation throws cold water on Central Railway’s Home Project

1914834Mumbai:  One of the most upmarket government residential projects — a 12-storey tower with 24 spacious three bedroom, hall, kitchen flats — for railway officers has got caught in the crossfire of ‘outstanding dues’ between the BMC and the Central Railway.

Each flat is spread over 2,000 square feet and the glass facade building cost the railways more than Rs.15 crore to build.

The BMC has refused to give the tower at CR’s Nirmal Park Officers’ Enclave on Ambedkar Road in Byculla an Occupation Certificate unless CR clears bills pertaining to supply of BMC water to the railways.

The bills are a matter of dispute with the figures ranging from Rs.4 crore to almost Rs.30 crore depending on which side’s calculations one goes by. While the BMC maintains that these bills will have to be paid with accruing interest, the railways maintain that being a government agency engaged in essential work, such bills or interest does not apply to them.

A top-level CR official confirmed the dispute and said the legal and accounting departments of both sides are engaged in discussions to find a middle path.

He, however, said the fight could be a long drawn one since at some level even the railway ministry would come into the picture to settle the vexed issue of civic charges levied on central government agencies engaged in providing essential services.

“The tower was to house senior CR officials and has been ready for the past four months. With the last of the BMC permissions pertaining to fire safety adherence coming in last month, only the lack of an OC stops us from moving in,” said the official.

It is not the first time the railways and the BMC have fought a battle over posh residential complexes coming up in the sprawling Nirmal Park enclave. Earlier, two towers, identical to the one in question, was caught in a fight for five years between 2006 and 2011.

The fight, however, was because the BEST had asked for 451 sqm of land inside the enclave to build a power sub-station to supply electricity to the towers. But at that time CR had refused to part with the land and did so only after several rounds of lengthy discussions.