With the spate of building collapses in Mumbra came the game of gaining political mileage over who would claim to have supported the needy. When the Lucky building collapsed on April 6, 2013, killing 74 people, several politicians from the Shiv Sena and NCP had demanded that the government provide for cluster redevelopment of dilapidated structures.
Jitendra Awhad, working president of NCP in the state, and Eknath Shinde, Thane district head, Shiv Sena had both raised the demands. The two arch-rival parties had even called a day-long bandh in Thane, disrupting lives and damaging property. But the protests seem to have been nothing but a political stunt, as according to the rules, cluster redevelopment is not applicable for illegal buildings.
Cluster redevelopment, which comes under Development Control Rule 33 (9), enables a developer to use an FSI of 4 to develop an area of a minimum of 4,000 sq m. An FSI of 4 is otherwise not available to developers under DCR. But this facility is extended only to legal buildings that are in a dangerous condition.
State housing minister Sachin Ahir claimed that the proposal was still under consideration, and the government hadn’t yet given its nod for cluster redevelopment being implemented in Thane. “We have not yet taken any decision on the proposal. Also, it is meant for only legal buildings that are in a dilapidated condition in Thane.”
Reports claim that there are nearly 5 lakh illegal buildings in the Thane district. Sources say that almost 90 per cent of the buildings are illegal in Mumbra. The then municipal commissioner of Thane, R A Rajeev, had also told MiD DAY that Mumbra was historically illegal (‘Mumbra is historically illegal’, April 6).
There is still a ray of hope for residents, faint as it may be. “A special ordinance will have to be brought in so that all illegal buildings are included in the redevelopment of the area. But if this ordinance is brought in, every illegal building will be excused citing this as an example,” said the source from the housing ministry.
What is cluster redevelopment?
>> A minimum of 4,000 sqm or 1 acre of land is required for cluster redevelopment.
>> FSI of 4 can be availed.
>> Consent of 70% owners and tenants required.
>> It should be approved by a high-powered government committee and needs various approvals.
>> The redevelopment of a cluster could either be taken up by a public agency or a private developer, who is proposed to be appointed through a transparent process