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In Maharashtra, relief likely for nearly 2 lakh illegal buildings

The Maharashtra cabinet Thursday accepted an expert panel’s report on regularisation of unauthorised constructions in such belts. Sources said a bill would now be tabled in the state legislature.

Written by Sandeep A Ashar | Mumbai |
March 11, 2016 6:25:27 am

THE Maharashtra government has decided to regularise illegal constructions on a mass scale in the state’s urban belts.

The Maharashtra cabinet Thursday accepted an expert panel’s report on regularisation of unauthorised constructions in such belts. Sources said a bill would now be tabled in the state legislature.

Nearly 2 lakh unauthorised buildings in Maharashtra are expected to benefit from the move. Sources confirmed that the ruling BJP was keen to leverage the sop during the upcoming elections to local bodies in Maharashtra. A senior minister, who did not wish to be named, said the move might bring relief in Mumbai’s contentious Campa Cola compound case too.

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The election bugle has already been sounded with 10 corporations, including Mumbai, Pune, Thane, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Nagpur, besides 26 zilla parishad and 196 municipal councils, set to go to polls before March 2017. The illegal building menace is most pronounced in parts of Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad.

In the run-up to the Maharashtra assembly polls, the erstwhile Congress-NCP government had appointed a high-level panel, headed by former Mumbai civic chief Sitaram Kunte, on June 12, 2014, to suggest measures to deal with unauthorised structures in urban areas. The panel had also been asked to recommend steps to rein in illegal constructions in these pockets in future.

Based on the panel’s report and following suggestions from revenue and law and judiciary departments, the government Thursday decided to permit compounding of all irregular structures found indulging in zone and floor space index (FSI) violation within the permissible FSI by collecting a one-time penalty. The revenue department has linked the penalty to market rates.

The sop won’t, however, be available on a carte blanche. Based on feedback from the law department, the government has decided that only those constructions certified as structurally sound would be eligible for this. “A structural stability certificate would have to be submitted compulsorily,” said a senior minister. The cabinet also decided that the regularisation would be reviewed on a case-to-case basis.
The cabinet, meanwhile, accepted the panel’s recommendation that illegal constructions existing on land reserved for public reservation must not be tolerated. The government has, however, said the option of relocating those affected on alternate lands would be available in such cases. The government has also decided not to tolerate encroachments on land required for vital public infrastructure projects. These too will have to be razed.

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