MUMBAI: In a high-level meeting, headed by the chief minister on November 15, senior bureaucrats discussed utilizing surplus floor space index (FSI) available under the new development control rules for rehabilitating residents of the illegal flats in Worli’s Campa Cola society and whether or not they would be able to afford a plot in the compound if it is taken back from a real estate developer who currently has third-party rights over it.
The meeting that lasted for three hours was inconclusive. It may reconvene on November 18.
“The meeting was attended by municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte and senior bureaucrats of the urban development department, who briefed the chief minister about the available FSI and whether or not the residents can be accommodated in the same compound or if they need to be provided with Mhada flats,” a senior bureaucrat said.
He added that though attorney general Goolam Vahanvati had made a statement before the Supreme Court on utilizing surplus FSI available under the 1991 development control rules, the BMC is yet to ascertain if it would be adequate for the rehabilitation, or it required FSI from the plot the developer controls. The bureaucrat expressed doubts on if it is feasible to cancel the lease on the plot, which the BMC calls illegal. This was one of the main options that the BMC was evaluating after the SC on November 13 stayed the demolition of the illegal flats and asked it to explore ways to accommodate the residents.
“The moot question is even if the lease is cancelled, will the owners of the illegal flats be able to bear the cost of the plot,” he said. The current market rate for the area is Rs 40,000-50,000 per sq ft. Further, the land use of the plot will have to be changed from industrial to residential. If the lease was cancelled, but the illegal residents were unable to afford it even at subsidized rates, other options would have to be sought to accommodate them.
Earlier in the day, at a real estate summit organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the CM said that the issue showed clearly the need for a real estate regulator in the state. He also said he had written to the Union housing ministry to send to the President the Maharashtra housing regulatory bill, which has been pending since 2012.
The CM said the bill proposes a special police force and powers to seal a property for violations of civic orders, such as stop-work notices. “I don’t know when the Centre’s housing regulatory bill will be approved by Parliament, but we badly need it here,” he said, adding that the state government will come out with a cluster development policy within a week.
“I am not in favour of creating single pencil-like structures, but like to promote a comprehensive redevelopment plan to maximize use of floor space index,” he said. A cluster policy for Thane and other cities will be framed after that.
Other announcements included formulating a new development plan for the entire city and reclaiming land up to 1 km into the sea for the Juhu airport.
Stating the government is working to find a solution (for Campa Cola residents) within the framework of the law, the chief minister said that the issue has stressed on the need a housing regulator. I do not know when the centre’s housing regulatory bill will be approved by Parliament, but we badly need it here. I have written today to the union housing ministry to please send the Maharashtra housing regulatory bill which has been pending with them since 2012 for presidential assent after going through the clauses,” said Chavan.
According to the chief minister, the bill proposes setting up of special police force and powers to seal the property for violations of civic orders like stop work notice.
Referring to Campa Cola controversy, the CM said that the apex court’s order was harsh, but it went by the then civic chief’s finding that these floors were illegal and had to be demolished. I am sympathetic to the residents cause, but the court had strictly forbidden any intervention of the government officials. It thus, would not have been a happy decision to bypass the court’s ruling by issuing an ordinance to legalise the illegal floors with retrospective effect,” said the CM.
The Chief Minister further announced a slew of measures for developing the city’s real estate and infrastructure. He said that the government in a week’s time will be coming out with a cluster development policy. I am not in favour of creating single pencil-like structures but like to promote a comprehensive redevelopment plan to maximise use of floor space index,” said the chief minister. A cluster policy for Thane, and other cities will be framed thereafter.
Other measures include formulating a new development plan for the entire city and reclaiming land upto 1 km into the sea for the Juhu airport. The Chief Minister further said the government also is planning to reclaim land for setting up the entire Navi Mumbai airport if the current efforts to acquire land parcels from villagers do not work out. We have asked a Duty company to carry out a feasibility study to set up Navi Mumbai airport on the reclaimed land,” he said.
The government earlier this week, had announced that it had reached an agreement on compensation package with project affected people awarding 22.5% percent developed land to them. But, some six to eight villages have yet to give consent as they are seeking higher compensation for their land.