Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam has slammed the state government’s draft affordable housing policy, saying it has been created only on the basis of meetings and conferences with real estate companies and is designed to benefit developers.
Nirupam said provisions in the policy, such as excluding certain tenants from the protection of the Maharashtra Rent Control Act and dilution in the consensus norms for slum redevelopment, would favour builders in the redevelopment process.
“We are not against redevelopment, but it should be done by taking all the tenants into confidence instead of simply making it easier for builders. The state government should put the draft in public domain and let there be an open debate on this, like there was on the draft development plan,” said Nirupam.
The draft housing policy calls for all commercial tenants occupying an area of over 500 square feet and residential tenants occupying 861 square feet and above to be excluded from the Maharashtra Rent Control Act, which prohibits landlords from levying market rents. There are over 16,000 such old buildings in the city and their redevelopment has been sluggish. Nirupam said the first draft of the housing policy, which the government’s Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration had prepared, did not mention any changes to the Maharashtra Rent Control Act.
“The draft policy has also suggested reducing the consent required from slumdwellers for redevelopment to 50 per cent of the total occupants from the earlier 70 per cent. If anything, the consent norms should have been made more stringent. The state cannot make policy drafts only on the basis of real estate conclaves,” Nirupam said.