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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Mumbai builders demand transferable construction rights for owners of mangrove-covered land

Mangroves designated forest land, state govt wary of move

Written by Sandeep A Ashar | Mumbai | Updated: October 1, 2020 10:35:53 am
mumbai city news news, mumbai builders, mumbai mangroves, mumbai mangrove destruction, mumbai mangrove destruction casesEnvironmentalists opposing the move questioned how mangrove-covered land could be considered revenue or land conducive for development since these were located in intertidal zones or areas between land and sea. (File)

BUILDERS IN Mumbai have approached the state government for a grant of transferable development rights (TDR) in lieu of plot laced with mangroves. According to information, Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (CREDAI-MCHI) has written to the state government demanding that owners of all mangrove-covered plots should be awarded construction rights that can be used elsewhere as compensation.

Senior sources said if allowed, the move could have implications on Mumbai’s ecology as all land with mangroves were to be designated “forest area” and no development was allowed on such land, as per a ruling by the Bombay High Court.

For the time being, the Shiv Sena-led urban development department seems averse to the move, with sources indicating that the party was wary of its political fallout. State Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray was vocal about “forest protection” in the Aarey Colony matter. But sources also said the builder’s lobby was determinedly pushing for its demand.

Environmentalists opposing the move questioned how mangrove-covered land could be considered revenue or land conducive for development since these were located in intertidal zones or areas between land and sea.

The city’s existing development control regulations do not permit TDR compensation for mangrove-laden land. According to existing rules, TDR can be availed on surrender of land reserved for public purposes, such as roads or gardens.

But those in favour of the proposal argue that it is a favourable situation for all stakeholders. According to them, owners will be compensated for loss of land, while the state government will be able to acquire more mangrove plots and hand them over to the forest department. If the proposal is accepted, construction rights worth several thousand crores will be generated. The release of large amounts of construction rights has also raised questions over the city’s overburdened infrastructure. Builders have pushed the move a couple of times in the past too, but the state government is yet to give in.

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