Mumbai: New hope for MHADA colony residents

In a move that could benefit two lakh residents living in MHADA colonies, BMC commissioner Sitaram Kunte approves policy which allows the civic body to develop reserved amenities in 104 MHADA colonies by charging the developer a per-square-metre fee

A new development policy of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is likely to benefit nearly two lakh people living in the city’s 104 colonies of the Maharashtra Area and Housing Development Authority (MHADA).

 A newly-built MHADA colony at Versova. Representational pic
A newly-built MHADA colony at Versova. Representational pic

Last week, municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte sanctioned the latest policy to allow the corporation to take over reserved amenities (such as sewer, water lines and internal roads) from the colony layouts, and develop them by charging a per-square-metre fee from the developer.

The rates would be applied as per the Ready Reckoner, and are not only likely to expedite the redevelopment of hundreds of colonies but also handsome monetary benefits to the BMC.

“The municipal commissioner approved the policy on Friday, and we will forward it to MHADA for its approval. Once that comes through, this policy will become binding on Mumbai’s developers,” said additional municipal commissioner, Rajeev Jalota.

The fate of these layouts hangs in balance as they await permission for redevelopment from the corporation, while the developer has already shifted residents to transit camps after redevelopment commenced.

According to existing norms, the corporation does not allow construction beyond 50 per cent on the layout unless the reserved amenities are handed over and developed. In turn, the developer holds the work to ransom unless the corporation grants approval under Section 33 (5) of the Development Control (DC) rules.

The blame game
Over the years, the BMC and MHADA have only played the blame game and failed to arrive at a solution on reserved amenities. In 2008, they agreed to jointly share the cost of the development of reserved amenities, but the proposal never saw the light of day.

In the same year, the state government passed a proposal to grant floor space index (FSI) of 2.5 to all MHADA colonies to encourage developers to take up their redevelopment. “The extra FSI added much burden on the existing, undeveloped infrastructure of the layouts. So far, only 14 of these layouts have been developed,” added Jalota.

According to a resolution issued by the Urban Development Department in 1982, local municipal bodies across the state were supposed to undertake maintenance of roads and stormwater drains in MHADA colonies.

The resolution added that it did not matter if layouts were not constructed as per the municipal corporation’s specifications. But both BMC and MHADA, for reasons best to known to them, have not developed them in the colonies.

The corporation blames MHADA for not expediting the division of a plot’s share of common amenities area for a proportionate FSI construction even as the DC Rule 33(5) was amended in 2008 to provide benefits of open spaces, amenities and extra FSI for these MHADA colonies.

According to data available to sunday mid-day, 56 of these colonies are on larger layouts and a large chunk of the rest of them are low income group (LIG) colonies in Mumbai.

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