Nearly a month since Husaini Building, the 117-year-old ground-plus-six storey building at Bhendi Bazar, crashed on August 31, the state government has formed a committee of MLAs to speed up the process of redeveloping cessed and non-cessed buildings under the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), especially in south Mumbai. Now, MIM MLA Warris Pathan, one of the members, has sought relaxation in the compulsory open space norm from the state government. Significantly, Pathan is an MLA from Byculla, which is home to several old and dilapidated structures.

Pathan says the SC rule is hampering redevelopment works

As per the Supreme Court's orders, all redevelopment projects and new constructions need to ensure six metres of empty space around the establishment for fire safety reasons. However, in a letter to the State Housing Department, Pathan has stated that the compulsory open space rule is one of the primary reasons why redevelopment work gets delayed.

"In the island city, which is constantly reeling under space crunch, it isn't always possible to secure six metres of open space around a building. In areas such as Bhendi Bazar, Kalbadevi, Bhuleshwar, Girgaon and Byculla, most buildings were not constructed keeping this mandate in mind. So, in order to accommodate the SC order, several adjoining establishments may need to be redeveloped. The state should appoint a team of lawyers to argue against the SC rule as many projects are stuck due to it."

In another suggestion, Pathan said, "The state should take action against builders who have failed to start redevelopment work on certain projects almost three years after receiving an NOC (No-Objection Certificate) from the government. The NOCs given to these developers must be cancelled."

Sources said, the MLA committee would soon deliberate on setting up transit camps for stranded residents of collapsed buildings.