TO cut delays in slum redevelopment schemes under the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA), the agency will now award contracts to developers only after their financial status and ability to complete the project are checked. This will help avoid stalling of projects due to financial crises among developers, officials said.
The decision is significant in light of the fact that currently over 1,000 SRA schemes or buildings have been incomplete for more than 15 years.
Minister of State for Housing Ravindra Waikar said on Thursday it is necessary to select developers who have a good track record and have the financial capability to undertake and complete a slum redevelopment project within a given time period.
For SRA schemes, every society is now expected to provide the Annexure 3 (B) that details the developer’s financial capabilities. Waikar said officials in the SRA have been directed to check the Annexure 3 (B) first, before approvals are given to any developer in slum redevelopment projects. Waikar further said the agency has asked officials to check the financial capacity of developers by asking them to furnish relevant details and its track record in previous building projects.
A senior SRA official said currently there are more than 1,513 SRA schemes underway in Mumbai.
Of these, 1,039 are schemes that were given no-objection certificates in or before 2004. These are schemes that have thus been pending for more than 15 years, with lakhs of slum dwellers awaiting rehousing in these projects. The official added that more than 45 per cent of SRA schemes that have been delayed is because of unavailability of funds for the developer.
In October 2017, Housing Minister Prakash Mehta had announced a loan scheme for projects that have run into long delays on account of the developer’s financial inability to continue the work.
An MoU was also signed between the Shiv Shahi Punarvsan Prakalp Ltd (SPPL), SBI and the state government for these loans. The SBI, it was envisioned, would give loans to developers for the sale component of the redevelopment schemes while the SPPL would offer credit for construction of the free rehabilitation tenements. While it has been well over a year since the announcement, only five proposals seeking such credit have reached the SPPL.
Housing expert Ramesh Prabhu said this is a good move by the government if they award redevelopment schemes only to financially stable developers. “The real estate market is currently not doing well so before giving NOC to any developer, it is advisable for the SRA to check the company’s financial status,” he said.
Meanwhile, the government is also planning to regularise purchase of SRA tenements from rehoused slum dwellers who were allotted the free housing and sold these before the lapse of the mandatory 10-year period.
Under SRA, a free housing beneficiary is not permitted to sell the dwelling for the first 10 years. However, there are many who have done so and the government is now planning to regularise such purchases. There are over 13,000 such homes that were sold by slum dwellers before the 10-year period.