The Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation has warned people against buying property through such questionable methods
Unauthorised constructions may have once been discreet in the island city and its suburbs, but the builders have now found their way to advertise on social media. With seemingly no fear of any backlash, builders in the Vasai-Virar region are now openly promoting projects built on encroached land and plots, The Times of India reported.
The Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC) recently found a video posted on YouTube by a ‘property guru’ named Madan Sagar from Shree Estate Agency in August. The video, which has over 90,000 hits, advertises chawls in Kopri and Virar (east) built on encroached government land.
The video gives potential customers a peek in the 200 sq ft one-room and kitchen house, with an attached bathroom, kitchen cabinets and tiles. The commercial claims that ‘BMC’ water will be available daily and states that the cost of the house is Rs 4 lakh by cash. In the advertisement, it is made clear that no loan will be provided.
The video does not mention the fact the chawl is built on government land and the sale agreement will be forged.
The video has now been taken off the website. VVMC commissioner Satish Lokhande told the paper that such advertisements about illegal chawls in the region have sprung up recently. He added that demolishing illegal projects on a regular basis and such online ads act as tip-offs to the authorities.
The main customers of such schemes and ads are migrants, an official said. “The general belief is that only the labour class gets conned by such projects which have mushroomed along the Mumbai-Ahmedabad national highway. Several white collar workers have also bought rooms here,” he added.
More than 5,000 chawls of the same range with water and electricity connections, constructed on forest land, were razed down by the VVMC in May in Vasai (east). The official cited earlier told the paper that these structures spring back up within weeks of demolition.
These rooms with cement walls and asbestos roofs are constructed over the weekend, a source told the paper.
In the past few years, budgetary allocation for demolitions has doubled. Lokhande also said that over a dozen officers and some assistant municipal commissioners have been suspended for ignoring the issues of illegal constructions.The VVMC has put up posters on its website and around the suburbs, warning people against buying property through such questionable methods. "People buy illegal properties and then blame us when we go to demolish it," Lokhande added.