Stuck projects: CM meets legislators

Housing challenges in the financial capital dominated a marathon meeting of Mumbai’s legislators with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday as elected members from all parties raised issues pertaining to the newly-implemented Development Control Rules (DCR),slum rehabilitation projects,non-starter redevelopment projects and capital value-based property tax assessment to be implemented soon.

Written by Kavitha Iyer | Published: May 4, 2012 2:15 am

Housing challenges in the financial capital dominated a marathon meeting of Mumbai’s legislators with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Thursday as elected members from all parties raised issues pertaining to the newly-implemented Development Control Rules (DCR),slum rehabilitation projects,non-starter redevelopment projects and capital value-based property tax assessment to be implemented soon.

The CM,who began the meeting attended by 33 MLAs by reading out a list of points discussed during an earlier meeting with the city’s legislators about 18 months ago and the action taken by the government on each,promised to carefully consider all the issues raised on Thursday.

Several Congress MLAs led the call for a fresh look at the revised DC regulations that govern building projects.

“Mumbai’s development has come to a stop,” said Mumbadevi MLA Amin Patel,adding that since the implementation of the new DCR in January,only 20 new building proposals have been received for the Colaba-Mahim belt and only five approved till date. “There must be some lacunae in the DCR,” Patel said,listing the inclusion of passages within FSI calculable area and the charging of a premium for a second car park per flat as among the many reasons why the new rules have made real estate development less appealing for builders.

“Chavan also promised to discuss with the Union Environment Minister a circular received from the ministry,which says the height of a building must be dependent on the width of a road. A nine-floor building must have a 45-feet road alongside,” said Patel. “This will be impossible in most parts of Mumbai.” Patel also showed the CM photographs of Mumbaikars living in transit camps in the suburbs for decades while 395 properties acquired by MHADA over the past 40 or 50 years await redevelopment.

Bandra MLA Baba Siddique called for a rethink on whether a seaside financial centre such as Mumbai should be governed by Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms applicable in other parts of the country. “I appealed to the CM to conduct a study tour of places like Hong Kong,Dubai,Australia and South Africa,where iconic structures are built along the sea. Are we right in stopping any construction by the sea,are these countries all wrong?” he asked.

Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council Vinod Tawde submitted a slew of demands in writing,starting with the ban on political rallies in the historic Shivaji Park in Central Mumbai. “I proposed that a resolution be passed unanimously in both Houses of legislature regarding removing the restriction and despatched to the Union government,” Tawde said. He also raised key issues pertaining to housing as well,stating that tenders should be floated for slum rehabilitation projects to end corruption in the Slum Rehabilitation Authority,that slums on CRZ land should be considered eligible for resettlement too and that citizens should be given a clear picture regarding the impact of the capital value-based assessment of property tax and information on what the increase in taxes will be.

Byculla MLA Madhu Chavan demanded that the 63 buildings built under the Prime Minister’s Grant Project in the 1980s be redeveloped as they are in a poor condition. A few suburban MLAs also raised the issue of housing for Kolis and East Indian families who,they said,have already exploited the 2.5 FSI available. Redevelopment of the koliwadas should get greater FSI,they demanded.

Jogeshwari Sena MLA Ravindra Waikar spoke about the completion of the rehousing of tribals in Aarey Colony as well as road connectivity works between Jogeshwari and Andheri. He also asked specific questions relating to housing for policemen and the redevelopment of MHADA colonies.

While most isues discussed were related to housing,transportation and the functioning of MHADA and BMC,some broader policy decisions were also discussed,including the hawker zone policy,better city-wide traffic management,educational and medical facilities,especially in the suburbs.

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