New cut-off may not help most ongoing slum schemes

Every second resident in Mumbai lives in a slum. According to official data, about 65 lakh people reside in 13 lakh hutments.

Written by Sandeep A Ashar | Mumbai | Published:May 15, 2014 12:32 am
Slum-480 Slums in Mumbai.

An overwhelming majority of slum redevelopment projects under way in Mumbai may not be able to reap benefits from the decision to extend the cut-off deadline from January 1, 1995 to January 1, 2000. To avoid complications in ongoing redevelopment schemes, the state government is considering not to extend the benefit to projects where letter of intents and commencement certificates for work up to plinth level have already been processed.

Official data reveals that 1,193 out of 1,729 redevelopment projects, roughly 66 per cent, have been issued letter of intents (LoIs). Sources said the government decided to adopt the stand of excluding schemes where LoIs and Commencement Certificates (CCs) up to plinth level have been granted, a majority of these would not be eligible for the benefit.

To improve its election prospects mainly in Mumbai and nearby urban pockets, the Maharashtra government secured the state legislature’s approval for a Bill to extend the slum cut-off date on February 28, just before the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha polls kicked in.

While the ruling Congress-NCP combine projected the move during its election campaign, questions already existed on how to handle cases of pre-2000 slum structures, which were razed or declared ineligible for rehabilitation in an ongoing redevelopment scheme. A senior official said the problem was that accommodating such structures in the case of an ongoing scheme would necessitate revalidating the scheme and revisiting all approvals.

Under prevalent norms, fixing the eligibility of slum-dwellers is a pre-requisite before deciding on the floor space index permitted for a project. The Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) grants LOIs thereafter, whereas plinth CCs comes even later.

The official said that applying the revised cut-off deadline for ongoing projects would need redoing the eligibility exercise. In cases where plinth CCs have been granted already, it would mean that the entire approval process would have to be performed again. Copies of the Bill were published in the first week of May after securing Governor’s assent.
sandeep.ashar@expressindia.com

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