By: Vijaita Singh
Minister for Urban Development and Housing M Venkaiah Naidu has written to the environment ministry seeking an increase in the threshold limit of real estate projects that is required to get environmental clearances, up from the existing 20,000 sqm (square metres) to 50,000 sqm.
Naidu’s missive comes in the backdrop of the NDA government’s announcement of its flagship affordable housing scheme — ‘Housing for All’ that has been branded as the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT). The scheme proposes housing for all by 2022 to coincide with the occasion of 75 years of India’s independence.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, which will be monitoring the project, recently held a meeting of all stakeholders — environment, civil aviation, culture, defence and consumer affairs to streamline the procedures required for approval of any real estate project.
As per the Cabinet approval, government plans to spend Rs 50,000 crore on AMRUT, with a goal of constructing about 2 crore houses in all the 4,041 statutory towns and cities of the country by 2022.
The ministry of environment informed that a committee, formed to ease regulations in the real estate sector, was coming up with new guidelines, which will be incorporated in the municipal bylaws so that single-window clearance could be given.
During the meeting, environment ministry officials sounded caution on the rapid construction boom that would take place in the next few years.
“Environment officials said building construction is going to emerge as a major polluter in the future, with generation of solid and liquid waste and emissions. It informed that environmental guidelines were being formulated for the same and, once approved, they could be incorporated in the model municipal bylaws,” said a senior housing ministry official.
According to the guidelines, statutory bodies such as Central/state pollution control boards and even municipal bodies could accord approvals at local levels.
“This would put an end to red-tapism and every time a project has to be passed, one need not seek permission from different bodies,” said the official. The secretary of the housing ministry said it was important to address the issues related to building plan approvals, not just for the developers but also for individuals, who have to wait for approvals from governments.
The Ministry of Culture is also in the process of mapping the national monuments in 33 cities with million-plus population (through Survey of India, BISAG, ISRO etc), which will be completed within three months.
The National Monuments Authority (NMA) is also preparing a classification/typology document for monuments with varying importance. “Culture ministry informed that model heritage bylaws were being prepared and will be shared with the urban development ministry prior to final approval,” said a senior official.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation stated that the Airports Authority of India has already prepared Colour Coded Zoning Maps (CCZM) for Delhi, Mumbai and Navi Mumbai and is taking up the process in Hyderabad. These CCZMs earmark no-flying zones, air funnel, flight paths and height restrictions. “The aviation ministry was advised to complete the preparation of CCZMs for all the active airports on priority,” said the official. One of the issues that cropped up was a common methodology to read GIS maps.
“It was noted that while AAI maps the data in coordinates, the maps of the ULBs/development authorities are cadastral in nature with mapping based on survey numbers. It was decided that the heights and distances have to be mapped on cadastral maps by integration with GIS based maps,” said the official.
The Ministry of Defence also decided to ease restrictions. It stated that only areas falling within restricted areas require permissions while new restricted areas do not require any clearances. In this regard, the mapping of notified restricted areas will need to be incorporated in the local master/land use plans.
The Local Military Authorities (LMA) accords these permissions. It was decided that the MoD will send instructions to the LMAs within a week requesting them to share the information on restricted areas (within June 15, 2015) with the local authorities in
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs informed that National Building Code (NBC), 2005, is already in force and is being updated to make it concurrent. It was decided that the NBC 2015, needs to be finalised at the earliest.