State Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad’s proposal for reforms in the slum redevelopment projects in Mumbai has met a guarded response from the department officials who have vetted some proposals over legal sanctity.
Contending that the real estate sector was witnessing challenging times and needed a booster dose, Awhad had last month announced a series of reforms aimed at expediting slum redevelopment in the financial capital.
To expedite clearance to such projects, the minister had announced that the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) will be made solely responsible for finalising the eligibility list of slum dwellers, doing away with the need to approach the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (for civic body-owned lands) and the Collector’s office (for state lands).
When the SRA submitted a proposal in this regard to the housing department, sources confirmed that the department questioned the feasibility of the move.
Currently, there are 44 different offices that certify the eligibility of slum dwellers depending on the ownership of the slum and its location. The SRA’s proposal is to limit this to just eight offices, who will be Deputy Collector’s deployed with the SRA. The administration in the housing department has argued that eight offices won’t be able to handle the burden.
Flagging off the possibility of a conflict of interest, the housing department has further said three Deputy Collectors with the SRA at present were already involved in approving projects. Getting them to determine the eligibility of slum dwellers for all slum projects may not be appropriate.
While the minister had also announced that the grievance redressal mechanism at the SRA level will be done away with to expedite projects, the department has said it will not be legally permissible, citing a court decision.