Mumbai, Jan 27: Opposition Congress and NCP today sought to corner the BJP-led government in Maharashtra over its proposal to amend the Rent Control Act, saying the move will "favour" landlords and big builders and threatened to block its legislative passage.
NCP reminded the government of its majority in the Legislative Council and said it would stall the passage of the amendment Bill in the Upper House in the coming budget session of the legislature.
Former Congress MP Gurudas Kamat dashed off a letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, opposing the move on the ground it will "favour" landlords and big builders.
Speaking to reporters at NCP office here, spokesperson Nawab Malik said "the government does not have a majority in the Upper House. If the government tries to push through the amendment, NCP, given its majority in the Council, will stall the passage of the Bill."
The government wants to amend Maharashtra Rent Control Act, 1999 to allow landlords to charge market-linked rent in pre-1969 buildings from tenants using certain sizes of housing units (both residential & commercial).
At present, the Act prohibits landlords from levying market rents. Malik said the previous Congress-NCP-led government in the state had passed the Act after holding talks with tenant associations and other stakeholders.
The previous government had provided for a 4 per cent increase in rent. Accusing the Fadnavis government of trying to protect some vested interests, he said there was no need to bring new amendments in the Act. Mumbai NCP President and former Housing Minister Sachin Ahir sought to know as to who will benefit from the "300 to 400 time" hike in the rent.
Commenting on the belated move of Shiv Sena, ruling ally of BJP, to oppose the proposed move, Ahir asked what the the party's ministers from Mumbai were doing when the issue was discussed in the Cabinet.
Kamat, in his letter to the Chief Minister, said if changes in the Act are implemented, lakhs of families and small commercial establishments will be driven out of their premises as they can't afford to pay "huge" rents.
The proposed move will allow landlords and builders to redevelop these properties, Kamat said.
"Congress will be forced to agitate if the decision is not shelved."