In Mumbai, redevelopment proposals reduced by 50% post new construction ban by HC

MUMBAI: Redevelopment of housing societies in the suburbs has been hit hard following last year’s Bombay high court order banning all new constructions in Mumbai from March 1, 2016.

The BMC’s development plan (DP) department said new redevelopment proposals between May and December 2016 dropped by 50% compared to previous years. “We received barely 600-650 proposals in this period compared to around 1,300 each year. This is a direct fallout of the court order,” said Vinod Chithore, chief engineer, DP.

The BMC is expected to lose an estimated Rs 600 crore this year because of the shortfall in various construction premia and development charges builders pay to the civic authority. It collected over Rs 4,000 crore in 2015-16, but managed barely Rs 700 crore between September and December last year. It now expects to collect a total Rs 3,461 crore by March end.

Developers have to pay assessment tax, premium for additional construction rights (fungible FSI), staircase premium, development charges, sewerage charges and open space deficiency premium. The real estate industry is now the second-biggest source of revenue for the BMC after octroi, and the ban could shave off more money from its coffers if it is not lifted soon, said officials.

A majority of the redevelopment projects affected are in the western suburbs of Khar, Bandra and Santacruz, involving single buildings. Many societies had sealed agreements with developers when the court judgment last February came like a bolt from the blue and stalled the projects. The order came after a division bench of the high court pulled up the state government and the BMC over their failure to solve the problem of the city’s polluting dumping grounds.

The court said that a pollution-free environment was a fundamental right and that compliance with municipal solid waste rules appeared to be a “distant dream”. The ban, however, does not apply to slum redevelopment projects, redevelopment of old and dilapidated cessed buildings in the island city, those involving housing authority (Mhada) colonies and construction of hospitals and educational institutions. The HC told the BMC not to process any applications or new residential or commercial projects.

The court had ordered a similar stay against construction in the Kalyan-Dombivli region a year ago because the local administration failed to resolve the issue of closing down the Adharwadi dumping ground in Kalyan. The Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation is believed to have already lost around Rs 70 crore as revenue during this period. Later, the corporation awarded a contract to a private contractor to shut the dumping ground.

Vijay Ballamwar, BMC’s deputy municipal commissioner (solid waste management) said the corporation will soon file its affidavit before the high court, listing the compliances it has already adhered to since the ban.

The court wanted the state and BMC to prepare an impact assessment study on how constructions affect solid waste generation (with plans to mitigate it), and making wet-dry waste segregation mandatory and to set up facilities for disposing biodegradable waste. Ballamwar said the corporation has already tightened security at the Deonar dumping ground, fenced it and installed close-circuit cameras. “Recently, we floated a tender to produce energy from waste at Deonar,” he said. The city generates 8,600 tons of garbage a day.

Credits ET Realty

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