Vadodara: The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) has decided to step back and not to raze dwellings for a slum rehabilitation project at Bhathujinagar in Danteshwar.

The civic body had drawn flak after it came to light that the site where it was proposing an affordable housing scheme was actually held by the residents there.

Bhathujinagar has 224 dwellings and 10 shops and is located on an area of 8,868 square meters. The civic body had proposed to develop the site on a public-private partnership mode. The residents and shopkeepers were to be rehabilitated at the same site under the Pradhan Mantri Aavas Yojana (PMAY). A part of the land was also to be used by the developer for commercial purposes.

The civic body had even invited bids for the project and identified the developer for the project. But after the project was put before the standing committee, the VMC started receiving objections to it stating that the land had been handed over to the residents there several years back. The opposition Congress party in the VMC also raised the issue. After verifying the details of the case, the civic body decided to drop the project at Bhathujinagar. But it found itself in a piquant situation as the development was clubbed along with similar work at Gurukul Crossroads and Madhunagar in the same tender. The civic body sought a legal opinion as it was looking to go ahead with the same tender after dropping the work at Bhathujinagar and continuing with the other two works.

The opinion stated that the VMC could consider giving the work to the same developer as decided earlier as it amounted to only reduction in the quantity of work.

The civic body has been finding itself in embarrassing situations time and again over projects that it put up on land that did not belong to it. This happened in the case of Sahakarnagar in Tandalja and now again at Bhathujinagar. Sources said that it was such developments besides the issue of extra work being done at housing schemes without necessary permissions that had led to a major reshuffle in the affordable housing department of the civic body.

An executive engineer has already been asked to explain regarding the excess expenses done at housing schemes. He has sought more time to furnish a reply regarding this.

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