Mumbai: DP confusion could delay projects for a long time

Around 1,600 projects in the city could be held up as the chief minister has instructed officials to follow plans under both DP 1991 and the recently-rejected draft DP 2034, causing utter chaos in the construction industry

When Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced that the controversial development plan (DP) 2034 had been scrapped, his decision was met with citizens’ relief. Ask experts in the construction industry, however, and they will say the CM has only worsened matters with more confusion, which could hold up nearly 1,600 projects for years.

Also read: CM Fadnavis gives DP the boot, tells BMC to start afresh

mid-day had reported that although Fadnavis said that the draft DP 2034 had been scrapped, it would continue to be used along with the existing plan (DP 1991) until a corrected plan is formulated (‘CM gives DP the boot, tells BMC to start afresh’, April 22).

As many as 1,600 construction projects will be held up because of the confusion over the DPs. File pic
As many as 1,600 construction projects will be held up because of the confusion over the DPs. File pic

This means that in effect, DP 2034 has not really been scrapped, since the authorities will have to follow its regulations, including road-widening plans. This gives rise to obvious problems, since a major objection to DP 2034 was that it had big errors in marking existing land use, and included ill-judged plans for roadwork, etc.

CM Devendra Fadnavis instructed the authorities to follow both DP 1991 and DP 2034, and to apply the more stringent of the two
CM Devendra Fadnavis instructed the authorities to follow both DP 1991 and DP 2034, and to apply the more stringent of the two

which would have razed heritage structures and religious shrines. Senior architect Manoj Changani gives the example of the BKC convention centre project, for which a large area has already been excavated. In the rejected DP, however, the maps show a pond in the location, not the convention centre.

mid-day’s report on April 22
mid-day’s report on April 22

In such a case, what is the project developer or the BMC to do? And if this wasn’t bad enough, there is added uncertainty because two DPS are in play now.

According to the CM’s instructions, all projects will be considered under the regulations of both DPs 2034 and 1991, and in case of a clash, the authorities must apply whichever DP has more stringent rules in the particular case. “Instead of making right amends, the state government has created further confusion amongst BMC officers, developers, architects, tenants and all the stakeholders with a complicated transient policy until the new DP is made.

This is despite realising the scrapped DP had mistakes like showing the BKC convention centre one of the biggest projects as a pond,” said Changani. R S Potdar, deputy chief engineer, Building Proposal Department (city), BMC, confirmed that officials are following both the DPs, applying whichever is more stringent.

This chaos will only slow down the industry, as even officials will be uncertain which projects to clear under the new policy. As per industry experts, this will affect at least 25 per cent of the city’s projects, roughly equivalent to about 1,600 projects.

“Everyone is confused, this is leading to major delays. The uncertainty has forced even BMC officers to take action after a lot of thought. In an ideal situation, when everything is in place, proposals can be passed in two months, but even this does not happen. And now, it could be years before the proposals are cleared,” said Jitendra Gaikwad, chairman of Muktistar, a real estate development firm.

Past experience
The best hope is that the BMC does manage to draft a corrected DP within the four months granted by the CM, but according to Sunil Mantri, developer and president of the National Real Estate Development Council, it could even take a year.

“During former BMC commissioner Subodh Kumar’s regime, he had introduced new Development Control rules in 2012 and assured us that everything would be clear in two to three months, but it took over a year just to understand the rules,” said Mantri.

Voices

Sunil Mantri, President of the National Real Estate Development Council
I can only hope that the DP is passed in four months, or else it will delay projects even further. Most of the plots are getting affected by reservations listed in DP 2034, and because of the CM’s instructions, this will affect 25 per cent of the projects

Dr Sanjay Chaturvedi, Editor of Accommodation Times (real estate publication)
About 750-900 construction proposals go to the BMC every fortnight. But there’s a lot of uncertainty in terms of the new DP, which is delaying the projects

Old wine, new bottle
The order released by the Urban Development Department on April 23 says that the same scrapped DP will be re-released after corrections are made. The order reads: in the proposed DP for which the government resolution was issued on February 25, all the errors in the DP shall be rectified within four months and should be placed before the public for objections and suggestions.

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