15,000 SoBo buildings could turn into skyscrapers

Apr 27, 2012, 06:21 IST | Varun Singh

Corporators pass notice of motion, empowering tenants to go ahead with redevelopment of dilapidated structures sans landlord's permission; property owners say they will fight back

If things fall into perspective as per Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) latest developmental plan for the city, then soon nearly 20,000 cessed and dilapidated buildings in Mumbai will be redeveloped into skyscrapers. Recently, all the corporators passed a notice of motion, which states that if most of the tenants of a particular building want to redevelop the structure they are residing in, then they should be allowed to do so without seeking the landlord’s permission.

On shaky grounds: According to a builder, there are about 15,000 dilapidated buildings in South Mumbai alone; (above) a dilapidated structure at Bhuleshwar. File pic

The notice was brought into motion by Congress corporator Mohsin Haider. “Currently, under the Development Control Rule (9), without the landlord’s permission, a building cannot be redeveloped. However, the notice, if approved by the BMC commissioner and the Urban Development Department will enable tenants to go ahead with the redevelopment irrespective of landlord’s opposition,” said Haider.

He added that most of the landlords, who own dilapidated buildings stay away from redevelopment because once the structure crumbles, the land comes into his or her possession. “This is the reason why tenants suffer and hence we have urged the commissioner to carry out the amendments at his earliest and start redevelopment work on dilapidated structures before monsoon.”

Extra space
While a few builders are happy with the proposal, as this will enable them to get extra construction space in the city, others say that implementation is easier said than done. A builder, requesting anonymity, said, “There’s hardly any land available in Mumbai. Hence, if tenants go ahead with redevelopment plans, it will be on a large-scale. Most of the dilapidated buildings are located in South Mumbai, about 15,000. This means more construction in the region.”

However, Anand Gupta, treasurer, Builders Association of India, is sceptical about the proposal’s implementation. “Though there does exist a similar law in MHADA, the scale of redevelopment of old buildings, is not up to the mark. Its very difficult to assume that landlords will let go off their rights so easily.”

Owners state that they won’t allow anyone to snatch their properties. “When neither the government, nor the BMC are ready to part away with their properties, then how can they expect the landlords to give away theirs. We are ready to construct the property and rehouse tenants. But for this to happen, the government should promise that permissions will be given within the stipulated time and should simplify the procedures,” said B R Bhattad, executive and vice- president of Property Owners Association. 

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