People living illegally on land owned by civic bodies have just been offered a major relief by the Maharashtra government. The state government has directed all municipal corporations to offer the encroached land on lease to the illegal occupants and allow them to construct houses as per existing municipal rules.
The government has said encroached land up to 1,500 square feet could be offered on lease for a 30-year period at the rate of one rupee per square foot per year.
However, this offer can be made only to people who are otherwise eligible for the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana.
The government has directed the municipal authorities to ensure that there is no further encroachment of land in their area of jurisdiction. It has asked them to take all necessary steps in this direction and fix responsibility on the civic staff.
While regularising the encroachment through the lease, the civic body also has to ensure that the new residential unit that comes up at that place adheres to the Floor Space Index (FSI) rules and that the leasing agreement is made in the name of both the husband and the wife of the beneficiary family. It would also be necessary to seek a no objection certificate from the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) stating that a slum rehabilitation project was not possible at the location.
The government directive is likely to benefit thousands of slum-dwellers in the city. The civic bodies will decide on a cut-off date from which people must be residing on the land to be able to claim the benefit.
The state government has said no premium would be charged from the eligible individual beneficiaries of PMAY belonging to SC, ST or OBC category. Premium would not be charged from other beneficiaries as well if the encroached land is less than 500 square feet. For land between 500 and 100 square feet, a premium of 10 per cent of the prevailing ready reckoner rate would be charged. For land in excess of 1,000 square feet, a premium of 25 per cent could be charged. The premium charges would be based on the ready reckoner rate of the area, which varies across the civic jurisdiction.
Beneficiaries will also be asked to furnish a written undertaking stating that the area required for providing basic infrastructure facilities shall be handed over to the corporation without any compensation.