Powered by Blogger.



Friday, May 31, 2013


The investor-cum-end-user driven property market in Virar offers multi-dimensional benefits for middle and lower-middle income groups with consumer-friendly property trends.

    For Somesh Vaidya, who shifted to Virar from Borivili, it was a decision he would not regret. The area has excellent connectivity, more open space and social infrastructure is no less compared to the other suburbs. Another added advantage of buying property here is its easy accessibility to Mumbai via the Western Express Highway, which is just five kms from the area and the Metro is only in three kms. The roads are also constructed well and are in good shape. Being the first station on the western railway's suburban line, people get the benefit of travelling through local trains. It is the only station, which isolates Mumbai from other locations like Vaitarna, Safale, Kelwe, Palghar and Boisar. 
    There are various housing and road transport development projects initiated by the corporation with the help of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). The skywalk in Virar west was one of the first amongst the many skywalks that were built. The Virar east skywalk is uniquely built, as it goes right over the Totale lake, situated in the backdrop of the VVMC Corporation building. Ashok Mohanani, chairman and managing director, Ekta World, shares, "What we have seen over the last few years, is that Virar has grown manifold. There is very good railway connectivity to and from Mumbai. Since 2007, the railway line has quadrupled in Virar. Travelling is just about one hour from the Bandra Terminus." 
    Another important advantage of the area is that it is a major source of water. The three rivers - Tansa, Vaitarna and Surya, flow via Virar. Surya and Vaitarna's catchment receives more than 100 inches of rainfall every monsoon. That is why, in the near future, the whole of Mumbai will get its water from the Thane district. The big Pinjal Dam Project, which is vital for Mumbai, is in close proximity to Virar. The second stage of the Surya River project is under implementation and will solve the water problem of the area. Narayan Mankar, mayor, Vasai Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC), informs, "The sub river Susri has a project happening on it. So, within three-four years, 400-500 mld (million litres a day) 
of water will be available. The requirement for our 15 lakhs population, according to new rules, is approximately 200 mld. We get 130 mld currently and some have their own sources." Also, for people there are a lot of employment opportunities, as many small-scale industries are being set up here. Currently, many people in Virar seek employment at Tarapore MIDC. Mankar states, "Our education facilities are good. We have seven senior colleges and 20 junior colleges." 
    Despite the development process is still undergoing, the area is furnished with all the basic infrastructure facilities like schools, hospitals, supermarkets and banks. The city's public school system is managed by the education ministry of the Government of Maharashtra. The city has Marathi as well as Hindi medium schools. There are also other private schools, which are offering syllabus under the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), like Matrix Academy Schools at Kharodi. There are few schools which are providing Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) curriculum. The Rustomjee Cambridge International School and Junior college have also come up near Global City, Virar. The late Shri Vishnu Waman Thakur Charitable Trust and the Agashi-Virar-Arnala Education Society are the two most prominent bodies, which have opened many institutes offering education, ranging from kindergarten to higher education in Virar. 

    The Municipal Council was upgraded to the Vasai Virar Municipal Corporation in May 2009. The Virar-Alibaug Corridor Project, an ambitious project undertaken by the MMRDA, has given the area another push as it is looked upon as a major developmental milestone in the history of Virar. The Rs 10,000 crore project is expected to provide seamless connectivity by the Metro as well as by road from Alibaug to Virar. The corridor will bypass the western and eastern suburbs and also the routes, which will witness growth in the future. 
    Boman R Irani, president, the Vasai-Virar MCHI units, explains, "The area offers multi-dimensional benefits for middle-income and lower-middle-income groups. The infrastructure development projects are on takeoff mode in Virar. The property market here, is investor-cum-end-user driven and both these segments are benefiting well with the prevailing property trends." "While the investors are expected to benefit with around 20 to 30 per cent appreciation, the endusers will be able to look up for affordable properties with ease. Affordable prices and easy-connectivity are driving the buyers to Virar's property market in increasing numbers," informs a marketing executive of Poonam Group, who wish not to be named. Real estate has been booming because of players like Rustomjee, Ekta World, Bhoomi Group, Poonam Group, which have many good projects in the area. In the next two-three 
years, Virar is being considered as a major development city. Experts believe that if one is on a lookout for affordable housing projects, low- and high-yield investment near Mumbai, Virar is a good option. One room kitchen, one-BHK and two-BHK flats in Virar are come at a reasonable price bracket of Rs 15-30 lakhs, while the prevailing rates are Rs 3,250-5,500 per sq ft. The built-up area of a one room kitchen is about 350 to 450 sq ft and a one-BHK unit here is about 520 sq ft and two-BHK is 760 sq ft. 
    Virar east has developing locations like Manvelpada, Phulpada, Chandansar Road, Veer Savarkar Road with property rates around Rs 1,800-2,200 (approximate figures). The development between Virar and Nalasopara is picking up pace. Property rates are lower in that location because of the distance from station. The west is more developed between Bhayander and Virar. Property rates are comparatively less at locations like, Gokul Township, Virar Gardens, Yashwant Nagar, even though they are just 10 minutes from the station by auto. Some upcoming locations are Gokul Township (Agarwal Group, Mehta, Vinay Unique, etc.), Virar Gardens (May Fair), Yashwant Nagar and Tirupati Nagar located on the developing Viva College Road connecting the highway. Also,MHADA authorities of its Konkan Board would be coming up with a lottery for over 5,000 affordable housing units in Virar (east) in 2014. The important feature of this project is that all the units are being constructed on a 43-hectare plot. Earlier, the MHADA had decided to release just 2,500 housing units for the lottery. Confirming the development, a MHADA official said, "The Konkan board of the MHADA has decided to come up with a lottery for over 5,000 affordable houses in Bolinj area in Virar (east) by mid-2014. This will be for the first time in the history of MHADA that houses released will be constructed at one place." 
    Manik Patil local property consultant informs, "The only issue this area had was that there were cases of illegal construction, which mushroomed in the area. So, we advise buyers to check property papers properly before purchasing property in this area." 



Mhada to hold 1 more lottery around Diwali Over 1,200 Win Homes In Friday’s Draw

Mumbai: In a first, the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) is planning to hold a second round of lottery for 2,450 under-construction flats around Diwali this year. The flats, which would be completed early next year, would be located in Virar, said Mhada vicechairman Satish Gavai. 

    Till now, Mhada has held only one lottery in a year. 
    The government is encouraging Mhada to hold the second round of lottery in view of the 2014 general election, sources told TOI. 
    "Another 3,000 flats, most of which are located in Virar, will be put up for sale in 2014. I am not sure, but I don't think the election code of conduct will affect the lottery scheduled to be held on May 31, 2014,'' said Gavai. "Mhada has already made plans to provide 8,000-10,000 affordable homes to citizens on 60-70 hectares of land acquired over the past few years,'' Gavai added. 
    On Friday, the dreams of over 1,000 citizens came true as they won flats in the lottery held by Mhada. Of the 1,244 flats put up for sale, homebuyers won 1,204. 
    "All my life, I have lived in a slum. But I didn't want a similar life for my daughter. Now that I have won a flat, my worries are over,'' said Narayan Mudlidar, who works as a driver in a private firm. Mudlidar, who had applied for aMhada flat for the first time this year, won a 269 sq ft flat in Magathane for Rs 11 lakh. 
    "It seems I have been given my dues for my service to the 
nation. This flat will give me security in my old age," said exserviceman Pramod Sawant (62), who wona 305 sq ft flat in Powai for Rs 49 lakh. 
    Mhada received 1,500 applications for a single 1 BHK flat (437 sq ft) priced at Rs 30 lakh at Pratiksha Nagar in the middleincome group. This is the max
imum number of applications received for a single flat so far. The flat was one of the most affordable given that Mhada's MIG homes in Kandivli cost around Rs 53 lakh. Next in demand were 62 flats in the economically weaker category in Borivli. Over 14,000 applications were received for these. THE WORLD IS FLATFIGURING IT OUT 
    Total no. of flats | 1,244 (572 highincome group, 354 middle-income group, 96 low-income group and 222 economically weaker section ) 
    Total no. of valid applications received | 87,647 or an average of 70 applications per flat 
    Flats won in lottery | 1,204 
    Flats kept aside for various categories | 40 (24 for the CM's discretionary quota and 16 for defence personnel, central government staffers as well as retired and sitting public representatives) 
    Getting my own flat 
    after 21 years seems like a gift for serving the nation Kiran Nikam | RETD INDIAN AIR FORCE PERSONNEL 
Won a 740 sq ft carpet area flat in Gorai for 66 lakh 
    As I am retiring in a few 
    years, the flat cost seems to be high. My daughter recently got a job, so I believe I will be able to afford it D N Jagdale | JOINT CHIEF OFFICER, MUMBAI BOARD, MHADA 

MOST WANTED Mhada received 1,500 applications for one flat at Pratiksha Nagar, Sion, in the middle-income group. This is the maximum no. of applicationsMhada has received for one flat till date 
    15 people, including 9 politicians, won flats for lack of competition in the category they had applied 
    Six of the 9 politicians won the most expensive set of flats (477 sq ft) at Tunga in Powai for 75.22 lakh each 
    The winners include MLAs Dadarao Keche (BJP) and Omprakash Rajenimbalkar (Shiv Sena), Sena MP Bhausaheb Wakchaure and former Congress MLA Kisanrao Khopade 
Joint chief officer of Mhada's Mumbai board D N Jagdale won a 476 sq ft carpet area flat at Tunga Village in Powai for 75 lakh. Jagdale had applied for aMhada flat three-four times earlier, but won the lottery only this time


Friday, May 24, 2013

Don’t give plots to legislators: MLC

Mumbai: A lawmaker has asked the state to stop allotting plots for housing societies to judges, legislators and government officials.
   Kapil Patil, who represents teachers in the legislative council, said in a recent letter to chief minister Prithviraj Chavan that homes must be built only for the common man.
   Patil said the poor response to the latest Mhada low-income housing scheme was the result of high prices.
   "In Shimpoli, Borivli, the price of a 305 square-feet flat is Rs 19 lakh, a 180 square-feet flat in Malwani is priced at Rs 9.4 lakh and a 305 square-feet flat in Powai is Rs 49 lakh," he said. "The ordinary person simply cannot afford these."
   In 2009, Patil had set an example by refusing a home in a housing scheme for legislators. "The government must ensure a 300 sq-feet flat for Rs 10 lakh in the city," he said in the letter


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ambiguity in CRZ order exposes coastline to development threat

 The Union government has exposed the country's shores to rampant development by leaving ambiguous the definitions of the coastline's features. The fallout of this uncertainty has been confusion among states and renewed construction bids near shores.
   The Centre's 2011 Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, which defines the scope of coastal conservation, stipulates different treatment for the country's bays and seafront. At seafronts, it prohibits construction at least up to 500 metres from the high tide line. At bays, it extends protection landward up to 100 metres or for the bay's width-—whichever is less.
   All importantly, the 2011 notification does not define the lesser-protected bays.
   In a letter to the Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) earlier this year, the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) sought the definition of what constitutes a bay. The issue is critical, say experts, since geomorphologically large parts of the coast of Maharashtra, Goa and north Karnataka are bays. The country's eastern coast, of course, sits by a bay—the Bay of Bengal. The 2011 notification reduces the effective protection on all these areas to a mere 100 metres, said officials.
   The Maharashtra coastal authority believes the notification leaves the state particularly badly placed since "most of the state's coastal area is either on bays or creeks". Valsa Nair-Singh, secretary (environment), said the central environment ministry has so far not clarified the issue of bays in response to the state's letter.
   Officials said the 1991 CRZ notification stipulated 500m CRZ area both for bays and seafront. Going by this specification, Maharashtra's Coastal Zone Management Plan was approved by the central environment ministry in 2000. But the 2011 notification disrupted the arrangement.
   The urgency to define a bay occurred after the Bombay high court directed MCZMA to take a decision on the M N Koli CHS slum rehabilitation project at Mahim Bay. The scheme was submitted in 1984-85 and approved in 1990 as per the Development Control Regulations of 1967. Construction started immediately thereafter. But once the 1991 CRZ notification came into force, the proposal got stalled, first because the land got tagged CRZ-I and then CRZ-II.
   As per the 2000 coastal zone management plan, in front of the slum plot is Mahim Bay and on one side the creek. The distance of the slum plot from the bay as well as the creek is more than 200 metres, said government officials, citing Google Maps and the coastal zone plan.
   After the 2011 CRZ notification was issued, the slum plot's developer filed a petition claiming the water body at Mahim is a bay and not the sea. He asked that a 100m CRZ line be demarcated as per the new notification. Further, he argued that since the plot falls beyond the 100m line, it is out of the CRZ purview.
   Officials said a bay is indistinguishable from seafront in most areas. "The distinction was not of much relevance earlier since the CRZ distance for seafront as well as recesses, such as bay, estuaries, creeks, was 500 metres," said an official.
   G D Chiplunkar, an expert on CRZ, said it is imperative for the central environment ministry to clearly define seafront and bay. The difference in protections for the two, he said, is based on the difference in threats to them from tidal and wave energy.
   "CRZ of 500 metres should be prescribed for open sea, where waves and tide can inundate larger areas; this is why more buffer is required. At creeks and inland waters, the wave effects are less since these areas are not exposed directly to the sea; thus 100m buffers are sufficient," he explained.
   However, at Mahim Chowpatty, as also for the Bay of Bengal, the 500m buffer zone should apply since they face the sea, said Chiplunkar.


The state has asked the Centre to clarify on the distinction between seafront and bay. The ambiguity on this in a CRZ notification has led to the imperilment of large parts of the coast of Maharashtra, Goa and north Karnataka as well as the country's eastern coast SAVING THE COASTS | THE COUNTRY'S BAYS AND SEAFRONTS ARE NO LONGER GIVEN THE SAME LEVEL OF PROTECTION GENERAL DESCRIPTION


Loosely defined as a body of water partly enclosed by land. Generally, a bay has calmer waters than the surrounding sea and
is a good place for ships to take shelter. When large and deep enough, bays become natural harbours In the 1991 Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, CRZ areas were classified as CRZ-I (ecologically sensitive), CRZII (built-up area), CRZ-III (rural area) and CRZ-IV (water area)
The '91 notification stipulated 500m CRZ area for bays and seafront
The 2011 CRZ notification retained the same classification as the 1991 announcement, but added class CRZIV, which includes water areas up to the territorial waters and tidalinfluenced water bodies
   A separate draft Island Protection Zone Notification was issued for protection of the islands of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986
   The 2011 notification prohibits construction at seafront at least up to 500m from the high tide line. At bays, it extends protection landward up till 100m or for the bay's width—whichever is less


The 2011 CRZ notification puts under cloud of development the country's eastern coastline, which sits along the Bay of Bengal:

   The largest bay in the world, it forms the north-eastern part of the Indian Ocean
   Roughly triangular in shape and occupying an area of 2.17 million sq km, it is bordered by India and Sri Lanka to the west, Bangladesh to the north, and Myanmar and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the east
   A number of large rivers—Ganga and its distributaries such as Padma and Hooghly, the Brahmaputra and its distributaries such as Jamuna and Meghna—and other rivers such as Irrawaddy, Godavari, Mahanadi, Krishna and Kaveri flow into the bay
   Among important ports along it are Chennai, Tuticorin, Paradip, Kolkata and Yangon


INDIA | Marina Beach (Chennai, Tamil Nadu) | Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) | Puri (Odisha) | Digha (East Midnapore district, West Bengal) | Suryalanka (Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh) | Chandipur (Baleswar district, Odisha) | Mandarmani (East Midnapore district, West Bengal) | Bakkhali (South 24 Parganas, West Bengal) SRI LANKA | Arugam

   BANGLADESH | Cox's Bazar | Kuakata | St Martin's Island MYANMAR | Ngapali


In the Andaman Sea close to the Thai island of Phuket, it has beautiful caves, aquatic grottoes and limestone islands, some of which are 984ft high BAY OF FUNDY | On the Atlantic coast of Canada, it is famous for high tidal range. Because of its unique shape, the difference in water level between high and low tides can be as much as 52ft
Located on the Californian coast, it has many islands, including Alcatraz which served as a prison until 1963. The area around it is the American West's secondlargest urban area PARADISE BAY | One of Antarctica's most visited areas, it is one of only two places where cruise ships can stop on the continent. The bay is surrounded by ice cliffs and glaciated mountains
VICTORIA HARBOUR | Among the world's deepest container ports and a major tourist attraction in Hong Kong. Its strategic location was instrumental in the city's establishment


AUSTRALIA | A national framework looks at land and marine-based sources of pollution as well as climate change SOUTH AFRICA | The Integrated Coastal Management Act provides procedures for demarcating and adjusting the boundaries of coastal protection zone, coastal access land and entry onto such land
UNITED STATES | The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration works with federal, state and local partners to address a variety of coastal issues SRI LANKA | Its coastal zone plan involves communities. A permit system manages development within 300m coastal zone CALIFORNIA | Coastal policies are achieved through local programmes that have to be completed by the 15 counties and 61 cities in the coastal zone

Times View: Clear the air at the earliest    

The Coastal Regulation Zone Notification is meant to protect India's vast coastline and ensure sustainable development along it. It was introduced to prevent mindless destruction. But an ambiguous notification can only cause more ecological damage. The MoEF, while issuing the notification, had asked various implementing agencies to bring any doubts or confusion to its notice. It is binding on the MoEF to clear the air at the earliest rather than leave room for interpretations and misuse.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mhada pre-monsoon survey names 16 unsafe cessed bldgs

Mumbai: A pre-monsoon survey conducted by the Mumbai Building Repairs and Reconstruction Board of the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) this year has found 16 cessed buildings to be in a dilapidated, dangerous condition. In 2012, there were only 12 such buildings.
   Of these 16 buildings, nine featured on last year's pre-monsoon list of dilapidated cessed buildings, too .
   The Esplanade building and the C and D wings of the Botawala chawl have featured on the list of cessed buildings for the last five years.
   Esplanade Mansion is a heritage structure in a decrepit state due to lack of repairs. In 2005, a portion of the building had crashed, killing one.
   Recently, the state government had issued a letter of intent for the cluster redevelopment of the century-old Botawala chawl in Mazgaon. The chawl is a cluster of six two-storey buildings spread over 4,721 sqm and houses 423 tenants.
   Mhada chairman Prasa Lal has written to chief minister Prithviraj Chavan requesting the use of special powers to evict the 683 tenants from the 16 unsafe buildings. "There is no point in the exercise if people do not heed the notice. The government should permit us to use special powers to forcibly evict the tenants," said Lal in his letter.
   Officials of the Mumbai Building Repairs and Reconstruction Board said of the 683 tenants living in these 16 buildings, 144 have relocated to transit camps and eviction notices will be sent again to the remaining tenants from May 22.
   Mohan Thombre, chief officer of the board, said, "The tenants should be concerned about their lives and relocate to transit camps. It is the only safeguard against collapses we can offer."
   A recent study by the Mumbai Transformation Support Unit has revealed that merely 8% of the 16,000-odd cessed buildings in the city have been redeveloped since 1999.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Illegal buildings may face Campa Cola fate: BMC

Mumbai: The BMC in an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court has highlighted 97 buildings for various violations. "If the buildings do not comply with notices issued by the BMC, they will most certainly meet the same fate as the Campa Cola society. Besides, those buildings that have obtained stays from the city civil court will be vacated soon," said Rajeev Kukunur, chief engineer (planning and development).
   "An amendment in the MMC Act allows the civic body to demolish illegal structures without intervention by way of stay orders from the civil court. The law department will take steps to vacate those stays soon," Kukunur added.
   The various types of violations detected include going beyond the provisions of the approved commencement certificate, change in user, increase in the number of floors, enclosure of terraces to create rooms, alteration beyond the approved plan and conversion of parking and garage space into shops.
   On May 13, TOIhad reported that the ward-wise list fell shy of mentioning the total number of unauthorized buildings detected in the past five years in H (West) Ward. However, in the same affidavit, the planning and development department produced a ward-wise list of all new constructions and redevelopment projects.
   To cite two examples, the affidavit mentions alleged unauthorized work, including additional floors, at Khatri House at the junction of 33rd Road and 13th Road and redevelopment of Beauty Centre store in Khar (West).
   The BMC has issued notices to both projects and stated that their architects have submitted amended plans in accordance with Development Control Regulations and that these are under scrutiny.
   When TOI contacted Usman Gani Khatri of Khatri House, his son Iqbal said, "We did not increase from 13 floors to 16 floors. We had an approved plan up to 16 floors. But as per the new DCR, the fungible FSI can be utilized only up to 13 floors. We want to live in this building and do not want any unauthorized work. We are willing to pay the penalty. Our amended plan is under BMC scrutiny."
   Yakub Kapadia, director, Beauty Centre, said, "Our plan was approved up to six floors in 2011. We went up to seven, but the BMC approved it in 2012."




In a city like Mumbai, where affordable rental housing is the need of the hour, many developers have slammed the government's decision to reduce the FSI, as they say it will make rental housing projects unviable, says RAVI SINHA

   The developers in Mumbai are disappointed with the Government of Maharashtra 'bowing to the pressure' from local civic bodies and reducing the Floor Space Index (FSI) for its ambitious rental housing project. Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, last week, revised the policy and reduced the FSI to three from four. Local civic corporations in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) had complained that FSI four would put an unbearable load on their infrastructure, as many developers had planned to build high-rise buildings in such areas.
   Housing experts had also warned that the population density would have increased alarmingly with such high FSI. It would have led to 1,200 flats coming up on just one acre of land. Now, with FSI three, the number of flats will be around 600. The plan was to be implemented in the MMR but never took off in the past five years because the unusually high FSI of four offered to builders, would have strained the civic infrastructure.
   The FSI defines how much can be built on a plot. FSI four means one can construct 4,000 sq m on a 1,000 sq m plot. However, the developers' grouse is that the reduction in the FSI, may lessen its impact on the infrastructure but the cost of construction will increase comparatively. Also, the area per unit, which has been increased, will escalate the cost of construction further. The rental housing project will not be feasible from a developer's point of view.
   Lalit Kumar Jain, chairman, CREDAI and CMD, Kumar Urban Development Limited, says, "Decreasing the FSI level will surely dampen the developer sentiment. Now, developers will be less keen to take up rental housing projects. This will adversely affect the rental housing prospects in the state. Increase in the FSI would have offered some hope to lower and middle-income people, who cannot afford a home in Mumbai, where property the prices are sky-high. With the government decreasing the FSI, the lower and middle-income people will lose out on the opportunity to have affordable rental houses to live in." Jain informs that, "Unfortunately, FAR/FSI is a taboo in Maharashtra. The global science on urban development and economics recommend FAR higher than five, to make the physical infrastructure viable and protect green land. Mumbai had set a great precedent by introducing the concept of rental housing but the government is too sensitive to 'media reports' and they don't feel the need to verify its intentions. This is where Maharashtra's government is behaving in a retrograde manner. We are disappointed with the state government's decision to reduce the FSI from four to three. In times, when providing rental housing to the ever-growing population in a city like Mumbai is the need of the hour, the government has bowed to the pressure from the local bodies and reduced the FSI levels."
   There is a general feeling that the FSI reduction will hurt the 'housing for all' plan that the government wants to implement. Many lower and middle-income groups rely on rental housing, as buying a house of their own is not an affordable option to them. This move is bound to discourage developers from taking up rental housing projects.
   Diipesh Bhagtani, executive director, Jaycee Homes, states, "It is a very good scheme provided, it is implemented in a timely and proper manner. It will give shelter to the migrants at a very low cost and it will also reduce slums. This will give rise to hygienic living, as proper facilities will be available for sanitation, power supply and water. A lot of low income group population will benefit from this scheme. Also, people who come to big cities like Mumbai will have a decent place to live in, with all the necessary basic facilities. The decision to reduce the FSI is a regressive step. An increase in the FSI would have made the project feasible from the construction point of view. Also, instead of improving the infrastructure, the civic body is looking at reducing the load on infrastructure. Looking at the way urban population is increasing, infrastructure will have to be increased and improved. So, why not plan now for the same?" questions Bhagtani.
   Although the government's intention is good, the scheme has some inherent flaws. The primary objective of the scheme is to decongest parts of Mumbai which in its current form many believe, it fails to achieve. It is imperative that the government reconsiders its decision to reduce FSI. Many think it is an impractical decision in a city like Mumbai, where affordable rental housing is the need of the hour. With new FSI in place, the whole project and the scheme become unviable. The government will have to do better to attract developers by giving them better sops that can be used either in this project or in another project, to cover up the cost of the rental housing scheme.
   (The writer is CEO, Track2Realty)





City shocker: BMC spots 615% rise in unauthorized constructions in 5 years

There's nothing remotely new about illegalities in buildings that dot the city's skyline. Recent BMC figures submitted in the Supreme Court, though, are deeply disturbing as these show a mind-numbing 615% increase in unauthorized buildings over the past five years.
   In the affidavit, the BMC's encroachment removal department submitted a five-year list of all unauthorized buildings from 2008 to March 2013, and the BMC's planning and development department gave a list of illegalities in new constructions and redevelopment projects detected between 2012 and 2013.
   In 2008, the BMC found 7,838 illegal buildings in all 24 administrative wards. Their numbers shot up to 48,194 between 2009 and 2013. Overall, the BMC detected more than 56,000 illegal buildings in the past five years.
   The BMC report, though, is incomplete as there are no figures available for Goregaon (West) in the P (South) Ward between 2008 and 2009. Besides, the consolidated figure for Bandra in the notorious H (West) Ward shows a missing blank space in the affidavit, which was submitted to the SC on Friday.
   There is also a mention of the number of demolitions undertaken and court cases pending in the past five years.
   Experts and activists said that while illegal buildings do get demolished, relevant action is taken only when alert citizens bring violations to authorities' notice; they seldom act on their own.
   "This is also due to the increasing power and dominance of irresponsible builders and developers. Their influence is growing and with it, the nexus at all levels, both political and official. Without collaborative effort, such illegalities cannot be sustained," said architect P K Das, a member of Save Open Spaces.
   Das further said the number of illegal buildings is also rising due to the complete absence of physical planning for the city. "The anarchy in development provides the perfect ground for illegal endeavours. This is a very important fact about Mumbai. The government must seriously get back to the drawing boards to undertake the responsibility of physical planning."
   Architect Aarvind Unni of NGO Yuva, who is involved in the revision of Development Plan 2014, said local corporations are incompetent to handle population growth and consequent needs such as affordable housing. "Since the state is unable to provide it, builders provide illegal settlements or buildings."
   Another reason for growing floor space index (FSI) violations is the restrictive FSI regime, experts added. "The violations could be partly because of rising demand for floor space and a restrictive FSI regime. That's why builders try to steal FSI. But that's conjecture and not conclusion," said housing expert V K Phatak.
   Last year, the BMC amended the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act to take tough action against illegal constructions. Amendment to its Section 515 (A) allows the civic body to demolish illegal structures without intervention by way of stay orders from the city civil court. This will be a major deterrent to illegal constructions.
   The SC directed the BMC to file the affidavit on March 15 when it was hearing a petition filed by Maharashtra Hawkers' Union against the BMC's treatment of vendors in Andheri (West).


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Illegal bldgs highest in Andheri-Juhu

 The K west and east wards, which include Andheri (west and east) and Oshiwara, have 6,458 and 5,235 illegal buildings—more than any other ward of Mumbai. The numbers are from a list compiled by the BMC for the years 2008-13, which it submitted in an affidavit to the Supreme Court on Friday.
   Overall, the city has more than 56,000 illegal buildings, of which 16,314 were detected in 2012 and 2013. The yearly figure for each ward does not include the number of illegal buildings found there the previous year. Strangely, though figures are available for the H (West) ward for the years covered, the BMC falls shy of mentioning their sum in the affidavit—in place of the total, blank space greets the eye (refer to the adjoining story for civic activists' questions and the BMC's answers).
   The lowest number of illegal buildings is in B ward (Sandhurst Road, IR Road, RB Marg, JMR Marg, etc). The total for 2008-13 is 559, and 171 and 54 for 2012 and 2013. A ward (Fort, Ballard Estate, Colaba, etc) would have been alongside B in the list had it not been for a jump from 139 to 857 from 2012 to 2013.
   The ward-wise list was compiled by deputy municipal commissioner (removal of encroachment) Anand Wagralkar. He has said in the affidavit that action was initiated under the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act and the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Authority (MRTP) Act whenever complaints were received by residents or activists against illegal buildings or ward offices submitted reports of inquiries into construction illegalities. The affidavit mentions the number of demolitions undertaken and the number of cases concerning illegal buildings pending in court.
   "The demolition figures include those concerning part demolition of illegal extensions in buildings, encroachments on designated open spaces and structures where construction was carried out beyond the approved plan and in excess of granted FSI. In some cases, entire buildings were demolished," said Wagralkar.
   Experts have criticized the BMC for disregarding construction monitoring and approval rules. "What do ward officers and staff do when illegal constructions come up? Illegal buildings are demolished and relevant action taken only when alert citizens bring violations to the notice of the authorities. The authorities seldom act on their own," said architect P K Das. "The authorities are supposed to visit construction sites and give permissions in stages. Instead, they wait for complaints to come to them."
   Activists say the figures in the BMC's affidavit have been underreported. A member of Save Open Spaces said the Juhu NGO had conducted its own survey of illegal buildings in the area and would soon release the findings.
   The affidavit was ordered to be filed by the Supreme Court on March 15, while it was hearing a petition filed by the Maharashtra Hawkers' Union against the BMC's treatment of vendors in Andheri (West). Pertaining to the case, the court told the BMC to file an affidavit with the number of encroachments on roads and pavements by hawkers. It also told it to file one on unauthorized constructions.

Developers start razing 'illegal' Navi Mum bldg

Navi Mumbai: Developers of an 'unauthorized' five-storey Koparkhairne building have started voluntarily demolishing the structure. The City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Limited (Cidco) recently served a notice to the building under MRTP Act. The demolition started on May 4.
   Residents of Bonkode in Koparkhairne had been complaining to the Cidco about the building being illegal and dangerous since the past two years.
   "The building went into litigation. But, finally it is being demolished due to media pressure after the Mumbra collapse," said acomplainant, Santosh Mhatre.
   While a section of a building, named 'Allaince Residence' according to the developers' earlier brochure, is being razed, action is yet to be taken against another portion, said Mhatre, who resides in the area.
   Mhatre inquired about the building's three developers, whose names and phone numbers were written on a brochure. "We found that the material used for the building was of sub-standard quality and feared a Mumbra-like collapse. Also, one of the builders was related to an accused in the Mumbra crash," he said.
   Cidco had last year served a demolition notice to the building. "But, the developers moved court and got a status quo. Now, we have sent a fresh notice," said Anil Patil, officer in-charge of anti-encroachment work, Cidco.
   But Mhatre says Cidco should raze the structure, rather than allowing the builder to do so willfully. "The demolitions are going at a slow pace and we fear that once monsoon sets in, they will have an excuse to stall the demolition," he said.
   At another demolition site in Talavali village in Ghansoli, Cidco had to stop work due to protests by villagers last Wednesday.
   "After the collapse of a building in Mumbra and the Worli's Campa Cola complex legal tussle, authorities have urged people in Navi Mumbai to not buy illegal property or reside in them," said a Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation spokesperson.

Ghansoli has over 2,600 unauthorized structures

T he upcoming Ghansoli node has the highest number of illegal structures in Navi Mumbai—2,664, according to NMMC data. Neighbouring Airoli stands second at 737. "Also, five buildings in Ghansoli have been declared dangerous. Action will be taken against all illegal buildings," said deputy municipal commissioner (encroachments) R K Mathpati. The NMMC will try to cut off water supply to the illegal buildings and urge the MIDC to discontinue power supply as well, he said.

DISTRESS AFTER DISASTER: Residents of illegal floors of buildings in Worli's Campa Cola compound

(L) The building in Koparkharine; Cidco had to stall demolition in Talavali village due to protests


State clears the decks for 5,000 Mhada colonies’ redevelopment

Mumbai: The state government has finally revised development norms and cleared the decks for the redevelopment of 5,000-odd societies in Mhada colonies.
   Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan-led urban development department has issued a notification in this regard.
   Raising stakes for redevelopment, the new norms offer bigger areas for tenants while linking the developers' incentives and Mhada's share in the redevelopment to the plot's market value.
   The floor space index (FSI) for redevelopment of such societies has been raised from 2.5 to 3, and to encourage societies to come together for planned development, the government has linked incentives for tenants to the size of the plot. While tenants in an individual society will get up to 35% additional area on redevelopment, the area incentive offered will increase by another 15%-45% if they participate in an integrated redevelopment scheme involving a bigger plot-size.
   The state has offered 15% more area to tenants, if they participate in a scheme on a plot area ranging from 4,000 sqm to two hectares. This would go up to 25% for development on two-five hectares, 35% on five to 10 hectares, and 45% on 10 hectares, and above.
   Of the 104 Mhada colonies in Mumbai, 56 are on larger plots. A senior state official said the idea was to encourage cluster redevelopment in such plots for better infrastructure and planning. An additional 10% area will be offered to tenants if they opt for a development or a joint venture agreement with Mhada.
   But there is a catch. To rein in fraudulent practices used by builders, Chavan has imposed a cap of 861 sq ft as the maximum rehabilitation area that can be offered to tenants, excluding the balcony area.
   The developer's incentive and Mhada's share in the surplus built-up area has been linked to market rates to make projects in lesser development pockets more viable. Accordingly, the incentive FSI offered to developers will range from 40%- 70% taking into account the ready reckoner (RR) and construction rates. The incentive component will be lower in the prime area.
   The society's share in the remaining surplus area after the rehabilitation and incentive components will range from 30%-45% depending on the RR and construction rates, while Mhada will retain the remaining built-up area.
   The state said about 60% of the built-up area in such projects will be reserved for houses for the middle and low income groups.


FSI hiked from 2.5 to 3 60% built-up area for affordable houses for low and middle income groups Existing tenants to get a minimum of 405 sqft and a maximum of 900 sqft, inclusive of fungible FSI components Bigger area for tenants if they club development plans with other societies
Tenants opting for Mhada as developer to get more area
Incentive FSI for builders and Mhada's share in the redevelopment linked to Ready Reckoner (RR) and construction rates
No premium on fungible FSI for rehabilitation component
Infrastructure charge at 7% of RR to be payable on extra FSI, excluding fungible component


About This Blog

Blog Archive

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP