Despite several dilapidated building collapses across the city, the state housing authority has put brakes on reviewing stalled redevelopment contracts for some of the city’s oldest buildings and cracking the whip on errant developers.
Last year, the repair and reconstruction board of the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) had revoked ‘No Objection Certificates’ (NOCs) for at least 18 cessed buildings, where the sanction was given before 2004 but the redevelopment had been stalled. The idea was to scrap contracts wherever projects have been stuck so that residents are free to draw fresh redevelopment agreements either with MHADA or through a private developer.
M K Thombare, chief officer of MHADA’s repair board, said, “There has not been much progress on that front. We are going slow.” A senior official said after MHADA conducted hearings with residents and developers and took action in the first few cases, the issue was taken up for discussion in the state Assembly.
“One of the projects for which we had revoked the NOC was discussed and it was decided that the matter should be stayed for now. On paper, we haven’t yet reverted the status of the cancelled contracts, but after that we didn’t take up any more projects for review and cancellation either,” he said.
For the 18 cases where MHADA had taken action and cancelled NOCs, the buildings were mostly located in areas such as Fort, Bhuleshwar, Malabar Hill, Cumbala Hill, Lalbaug, Parel, Mahim and Dadar. They included structures such as Daginawala mansion in Mahim, Tawadia mansion in the Fort division, Amrut Niwas at Dadar, KK Modiwadi chawl in Sewri and Meghwadi at Lalbaug.
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Between October and December 2012, MHADA’s repair board dispatched notices to NOC holders for 85 projects where redevelopment contracts of cessed buildings were firmed up before 2004, but the projects were incomplete.
Currently, there are about 14,000 cessed buildings in the city and redevelopment has been sluggish. According to a study by the Mumbai Transformation Support Unit completed in 2012, only about 8 per cent of all cessed buildings were redeveloped since 1999.