In Mumbai, atleast 3000 housing societies to get leasehold land converted to freehold

From ET Realty

MUMBAI: At least 3,000 housing societies in Mumbai will benefit from the state government’s decision to convert occupant class II and leasehold lands into freehold. Among the better known housing societies on collector’s land in Mumbai are: Kala Nagar in Bandra; and Pestom Sagar, Nath Pai Nagar and Sindhi Society in Chembur. Such societies are also present in suburban areas like Goregaon and Ghatkopar.

The decision has come as a relief for housing societies, said Salil Rameshchandra, a resident of Chirantan Housing Society, which is part of Shivsrushti Complex in Kurla. All these societies are occupant class II, that is, the land is in their permanent possession.

In the last five years, residents of 200 buildings in Chembur and nearby areas, under the aegis of the Shivsrushti Association of Co-Operative Housing Societies, have campaigned for conversion of their lands to freehold. The societies suggested that the government charge a premium of Re 1 to Rs 100 per sq ft and carry out the conversion. The Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration, the government’s training and research centre in Pune, on the other, recommended charging Re 1 per sq ft for the conversion.

Rameshchandra, a member of the Shivsrushti Association, said that over the years, the government had complicated issues for the transfer, sale and even redevelopment of properties in its effort to ensure that only genuine persons benefitted from its largesse. Most of the societies are over 40 years old and need permission from the collector to carry out redevelopment. These permissions are hard to come by.

“Last year, with the help of BJP MP Poonam Mahajan, we succeeded in getting a clause of the government rule revoked that said transfer/sale of a flat can only be done to a person from the reserved category and whose income is not more than Rs 20,000 per month. Imagine a person with such a salary being able to afford a Rs 50 lakh flat,” said Rameshchandra.

State government officials said that initially only occupant class II lands are likely to be made freehold. The government has already set up a committee under the principal secretary (revenue) to frame rules and regulations for the various categories of land given for different users, such as residential, educational, agricultural, and industrial. The report is to be submitted within two months.

Across Maharashtra, at least 20,000 housing societies will benefit from the decision and the state will get a huge revenue windfall, said Rameshchandra.

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