MUMBAI: Redevelopment projects on Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's ( BMC) leasehold plots is set to become easier, as Mumbai's civic body has simplified the approval process, and more importantly, has also set a time frame for granting permission for such projects.
The earlier complex application procedure and uncertainty over timeframe for these approvals were delaying the entire process. Also with the objective of doing away with agents involved in the procedure for securing these approvals, BMC's estate department has now modified five key applications related to this process. These applications include the procedure for amalgamation of plots leased by the civic body and for granting No Objection Certificate (NOC) for redevelopment of municipal-leased property under Development Control Rules 33(7), which deals with redevelopment of cessed buildings in the island city.
Among the key procedures, the civic body has set a timeframe of 34 days for the amalgamation procedure of municipal leasehold plots. Timeframe for procedure of granting formal no-objection certificate for redevelopment of these plots under cluster development is fixed at 17 days, and the procedure for granting NOC to occupancy certificate for such projects will have to be finished in 20 days.
Industry experts believe that the new simplified system will benefit the consumer, help reduce project delays and eventually make them relatively affordable.
"With certain timelines, everything can be calculated well in terms of cost and time. Developers will also get clarity on the status of applications, or whether the plan needs any modifications, rather than just wait forever. Eventually, the end user and project beneficiaries will be more certain about delivery of projects and they won't get stuck due to policy paralysis. Hope, this gets implemented soon and properly," said Raj Gala Shah, Partner, Zara Habitats, that has been focusing on redevelopment of such leased plots.
The BMC's estate department had undertaken the review of these processes on Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta's instructions.
"It's a good beginning, but this should be linked to Right to Services Act as proper implementation of such policies is crucial for all stakeholders including project beneficiaries," said Manoj Daisaria, an architect, member and former president of Practicing Engineers, Architects and Town Planners Association.
According to reports, the civic body has leased out over 4,200 plots in Mumbai to private entities. These properties have been leased for different use such as residential, educational, charitable and industrial, etc. The period of these leases ranges from 10 to 999 years. Of these, lease for around 230 plots, including the Mahalaxmi Race Course, the Life Insurance Building and Thomas Cook buildings in Fort, have expired about two years ago.
As per the World Bank report in 2014, India ranks 142 out of the 189 countries in terms of ease of doing business, while in terms of dealing with construction permits, India's ranking was as low as 184. The report also states that cost of construction permits in Mumbai consists of over 46% of the total construction cost.