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Centre nod to amend CRZ norms for Mumbai slums

While the UPA regime had originally relaxed CRZ norms in January 2011 to permit the redevelopment of these areas, builders were not interested in a public-private partnership model that was proposed.

Mumbai’s coastal skyline is set for a makeover. Construction along the coastline could soon pick up pace with the Union government Monday agreeing to modify coastal regulation zones for lifting curbs for the redevelopment of slum colonies under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ).

In Mumbai, there are over 80 large slum pockets and 300 small ones on the coast between Cuffe Parade and Dahisar.

While the UPA regime had originally relaxed CRZ norms in January 2011 to permit the redevelopment of these lands, builders were not interested in the public private partnership model that was proposed.

Refusing to give slum developers a carte blanche, the UPA government had imposed a condition that the state government would have to partner with the builders in redeveloping these slums and hold a minimum stake of 51 per cent in the development. The government of the time had hoped that such a condition would boost creation of affordable houses.

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But Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis informed The Indian Express Monday that the government hadn’t since received a single redevelopment proposal.

Fadnavis urged the Centre Monday to relax the 51 per cent norm. “They have agreed,” he said.

The CM held a meeting with Nripendra Mishra, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in Delhi Monday “over hurdles impeding some development projects in the state”. While Fadnavis had earlier raised the demand for relaxation of the CRZ norm for coastal slums with Union Environment Minister Anil Dave, this was also discussed Monday. “The Centre has agreed to relax the norm,” said the CM.

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While Fadnavis said the Centre was yet to decide the new development model, sources said his government had been pushing for permission to allow 100 per cent private redevelopment of coastal slums. If the Centre accedes to the request, it will enhance the sale component of a private developers in such projects.

The 2011 CRZ norms permit slum projects to get an FSI — the permissible built-up area to the size of the plot — of 2.5 to 4. At present, 51 per cent share in the built-up space remaining after rehabilitation of slums goes to the state government. Slum sprawls in prime Mumbai locations have already turned out to be a goldmine for the builders. Relaxation of slum redevelopment norms in coastal areas might turn out to be a further bonanza, admitted sources.

Fadnavis also succeeded in convincing the Centre to withdraw its objection regarding a proposed waste water treatment plant — the biggest of its kind in Mumbai. The Union Ministry for Environment had earlier denied permission to set up an advanced treatment plant capable of recycling and reusing up to 847 million litres of sewage daily near Malad creek along the city’s western coast on the grounds that a sewage treatment plant was not permissible under the CRZ, 2011 norms. “They (the Centre) have agreed to amend the CRZ norms to permit the treatment plant. The discharge standards applicable will be modified to. The Centre would issue final notification in this regard within a week,” said Fadnavis.

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Mumbai currently generates around 2,700 million litres of sewage daily. Its seven treatment plants together collect and treat about 1,384 million litres. The rest is discharged untreated into the sea. The proposed Malad plant is central to the Mumbai municipality’s plan to enhance the city’s waste water treatment capacity to 2,130 million litres within three years.

Earlier in the day, Fadnavis met Union Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju to discuss the long pending issue of relaxation of height norms for buildings falling inside the airport funnel in Mumbai. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has been pushing for lifting of the curbs to enhance the development potential of special economic hubs such as the Bandra Kurla Complex and the Wadala Truck Terminus. “A comprehensive study will shortly be done in this regard,” Fadnavis tweeted after the meeting. Also discussed was the civil aviation ministry’s height clearance for the proposed DN Nagar-Mandala Metro route, and the Pune airport development work. Fadnavis also informed that an MoU would be signed between the Centre and the state Tuesday for handing over of a 40-acre land parcel in Dahisar to the MMRDA for Metro rail work.

The state has demanded additional financial assistance for completion of irrigation projects in drought-prone belts besides expediting permission to exempt the Nagpur Gorewada zoo project from the rule of compensatory afforestation.

First published on: 25-04-2017 at 02:56:19 am
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