Metro rail agencies, Mhada seek special authority status

Shiv Sena-led civic body’s control over prime Mumbai land could slacken

Written by Sandeep Ashar | Mumbai | Published: May 30, 2017 1:55:05 am


MMRC, Mumbai metro, Mumbai metro construction, MMRC construction, Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited, indian express news A tree is cut down at Churchgate on Monday to make way for the Metro 3. Santosh Parab

The Shiv Sena-led Mumbai civic body might stand to lose control over some prime land pockets in the commercial capital, with three government agencies vying for special status. According to sources, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), which is building the Dahisar to DN Nagar and the Andheri (East) to Dahisar metro rail line, and the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL), which is building the Colaba to Seepz metro line, have proposed to the government that these corridors be notified as special planning zones.

The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) wants a similar tag for the 207 Bombay Development Directorate (BDD) chawls spread across 37 hectares in Central Mumbai. The three agencies have proposed that they should be nominated as ‘Special Planning Authority (SPA)’ respectively for these pockets. In simple terms, it means that they want the land parcels involved in these projects to be carved out from the civic body’s development plan. These agencies have sought unhindered power to draw up land use plans and sanction building and development plans on their own in these pockets. The need to approach the civic body for building permissions will then not arise.

About 9 per cent of Mumbai’s land mass — 41.69 square kilometer out of 476.24 square kilometers — is already notified as a special planning zone, with the MMRDA and the CIDCO being the SPA for most. The Shiv Sena-led civic body, which has formulated a revised development plan for the city, has been demanding the denotification of these SPA areas. Their contention is that the entire city should be governed by a single agency, and attract the same development control regulations. Sources said that while Chief Minister Devenedra Fadnavis has declined Mhada’s proposal for SPA status for the redevelopment of BDD chawls, the Urban Development department, which he heads, favours providing “operational freedom” for Metro construction. The CM has already designated these agencies as SPA for car sheds and depots required for the metro work, but his government is wary of extending the SPA status for constructions of office and commercial buildings and station areas inside Metro rail campuses.

Keen to avoid another altercation with the Shiv Sena, sources said that Fadnavis might just opt for the railway land model, where construction for operational purposes along these Metro lines are kept out of the ambit of the municipality’s development control regulation. Another government official said that any decision in this regard may also have a bearing on future development proposals planned along the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar corridor, which was developed under the public private partnership model. A similar demand for SPA status has been raised for the ongoing Nagpur and Pune metro rail projects too. Meanwhile, the MMRDA and the MMRCL have continued to push for the SPA status, claiming it was necessary for timely completion of the projects.

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