Finally, the elections to find a developer for the Andheri RTO slum ended on Wednesday with Shiv Infrastructure getting the contract, bagging 213 of the 330 votes at stake. A Gujarat-based developer, who ran a campaign, releasing front-page advertisements on newspapers, promising freebies to slum dwellers, managed to secure 103 votes.
The election officer from Slum Redevelopment Authority said, “the eligible voter count stood at 472. Total vote polled was 330 of which 323 were valid. Shiv Infrastructure received 213 votes, Manav Infrastructure 103 votes, and the rest 1, 2 and 4 votes. Initially, there were six developers for the contest, of which one withdrew on Monday, leaving five in the fray.
The seven invalid votes were of those who didn’t vote for anyone.
With election results out, the report will be submitted to the senior officials of SRA.
Shiv Singh, one of the slum dwellers said, “I am happy with the results. Most of us were united and we elected one developer, He has assured us to fulfil our demands. We want homes instead of our homes that we are giving away.”
The project comprises three slums – Kasam Nagar, Anna Nagar and Vitthal Rukhmai. According to the residents, the process started in 1999 but never took off. Finally, the Slum Rehabilitation Authority removed the builder over the inordinate delay and called for the selection through ballot paper. The slum pocket is spread over an area of three lakh sq.ft.
Manav Infrastructure had come out with ads offering the slum dwellers fully furnished homes, an insurance of Rs 5 lakh, a deposit of Rs 1 lakh for the marriage of the daughters of the slum dwellers for next 10 years, Rs 1 lakh each every year for the education of sons for next 10 years and homes for all 900 families living there.
Pramod Parekh, who heads strategic alliances at Manav Infrastructure appeared unhappy with the results and said, “There were many that weren’t right and we are planning to approach the appropriate authority against the elections.”
However, SRA officials say everything was systematic. They said at first, biometric registration of slum dwellers was conducted post which a peaceful election was held and the results announced.
Meanwhile, housing experts say the election is a good way of appointing a developer, but then it has to be free and fair and authorities should keep an eye that no one has a free run. Dr Sanjay Chaturvedi, a housing expert, said, “Competition, involving a free and fair process, is better. A bidding and election process is good provided the parameters are fixed and held without any bias.”
HOW VOTES PLAYED
3,00,000 sq.ft – Total area of the slum
900 plus – Number of slum dwellers
472 – Slum dwellers eligible to vote
5 – Total developers who contested
330 – Total votes polled
323 – Valid votes
7 – Invalid votes
213 – Shiv Infrastructure
103 – Manav Infrastructure
7 – Others