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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

CRUMBLING STOREYS Builder, ex-society officials booked for Dahisar collapse

Mumbai: The police on Wednesday lodged an FIR against four men for negligence for Saturday's collapse of Piyush building in Dahisar (E). Seven people had died and seven were injured in the crash. No arrests have been made. 

    The accused are builder Nemji Gangar (65), former chairman Bhikabhai Dudhat (55), secretary Babubhai Patel (49) and watchman Maansingh Lamsal (40). 
    Gangar, Dudhat and Patel were aware that the structure was dangerous after the BMC served a notice to that effect in 2010, said the police. "But they did not pull it down," said an officer. Lamsal has been booked 
for discreetly allowing his family members stay in the vacant structure when he was specifically appointed to keep people away. 
    The ground-plus-four storeyed structure on Y Tawde Road was con
structed between 1971 and 1981 by Gangar. It had 24 residential flats and 10 galas. In 2010, a portion of one of the galas collapsed. A structural engineer inspected the premises and opined that it was dangerous. 
    Subsequently, the BMC issued a notice to Patel on February 16. The building was evacuated and an inspection revealed that the building was in urgent need of repairs. The society management then informed the 
BMC that the structure would be redeveloped. 
    Following this, Lamsal was hired and 12-ft high tin sheets were installed around the structure to keep away outsiders. "When no repairs were un
dertaken within 60 days, the BMC filed a case against the society in the 39th metropolitan court in Vile Parle. The hearing of the case is still on," said sub-inspector Vijay Shingade. 
    The housing society approached 
Gangar for redeveloping the structure. When Gangar did nothing for 18 months, the society decided to approach another developer. In order to do so, the society needed a no-objection certificate and conveyance from Gangar. "But he kept dilly-dallying. Gangar hadn't paid stamp duty or registration at the time of purchase of the land," said the officer. 
    On Tuesday, assistant municipal commissioner Santoshkumar Donde submitted a report to the Dahisar police on the action taken by the BMC in 2010 and the society's history. Based on this report, an FIR was registered. 
    (Inputs by Linah Baliga) 


Standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale on Wednesday said that a separate cell should be formed to tackle cases of dilapidated buildings in the city. "A white paper giving the summary of dilapidated buildings should be tabled by this cell," he said. Samajwadi party leader Rais Shaikh demanded that the civic officials suspended for the collapse of Altaf Mansion in Mahim be named in the FIR 

Dahisar Crash 
7 people were killed and 7 injured when Piyush co-operative housing society building collapsed on June 22. Persons booked for the collapse are ex-chairman Bhikabhai Dudhat (55), secretary Babubhai Patel (49), builder Nemji Gangar (65), watchman Maansingh Lamsal (40) 

Charges & Punishment 
IPC Section 304 A (causing death due to negligence): Jail term of up to 2 years or with fine or both 
IPC Section 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others): Jail term of up to six months, or a maximum fine of Rs 500 or both 
IPC Section 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others): Jail term of up to 2 years or a maximum fine of Rs 1,000 or both 
IPC Section 34 (Act done by several persons in furtherance of common intention)


Bldgs without CRZ nod in city may face action

Mumbai: Several buildings in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai that have come up without the mandatory coastal regulation zone (CRZ) clearance could soon face action. 

    The state government has decided to ask civic bodies to initiate action against them after Union environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan's refusal to grant post-facto environmental clearance to such buildings last week. 
    There are nearly 700 such buildings in Navi Mumbai and Mumbai, sources said. 
    Some like Colaba's Adarsh society were constructed without the obligatory CRZ clearance. 
    Last week, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan made out a case for granting postfacto clearance to buildings where floor space index (FSI) violations had not been committed. The state government had argued that third-party rights had been created in most such buildings and sought their regularization after payment of fines. However, Natarajan 
rejected the proposal. 
    The Union minister had asked the government to initiate action against such buildings. 
    Sources in the government said the civic bodies in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai will now be informed that post-facto CRZ clearances will not be granted to such buildings and that action should be initiated under prevalent laws.


Ex-Sena CM’s firm bags plum redevpt project

Mumbai: Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi's construction 

firm has received clearance from the high-powered committee on cluster redevelopment to redevelop phase-I of the 30-acre Macchimar Nagar (fishermen's colony) at Mahim. 
    Kohinoor Planet Construction, which claims to have the consent of 70% of residents, was given the go-ahead last month after Mhada granted its approval for the redevelopment. The layout belongs to Mhada. Some state officials questioned why such a large project was sought to be given away to a private developer when Mhada could have redeveloped it and reaped the profits. But a Mhada official said rules pertaining to cluster redevelopment permitted any builder to undertake such a project and hand over a certain portion of the new tenements free of cost to the housing authority. 
    The committee, chaired by municipal chief S J Kunte, has now sent the proposal to the 
state urban development department for final approval. Joshi's son, Unmesh, who heads Kohinoor, is believed to be pushing the project in political circles. 
    Phase-I (around 10 acres), comprising 20 buildings that were declared dilapidated, are occupied by fishermen's families. The developer has proposed to offer each family 484 sq 

ft free tenement as against the minimum requirement of 300 sq ft. Phase-II, for which Mhada has given an in-principle nod, is spread over 15 acres. It comprises 14 buildings housing policemen, three buildings belonging to the Special Bureau of India, three Mhada buildings and one ONGC building. Phase-I will have a total built-up of 1.18 lakh sq m with a permissible FSI of 4.

The 30-acre Macchimar Nagar at Mahim will be redeveloped by Kohinoor Planet Construction


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Premium for open space deficit hits redevpt projects

Mumbai: Redevelopment of housing societies across the city could slow down after the civic administration recently decided to charge a 100% premium to developers who want norms for compulsory open spaces around their buildings relaxed. These concessions are generally
sought in case of smaller plots where developers are hard-pressed to leave sufficient open spaces around the builtup area.
    Builders accused the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) of "arm-twisting'' and said their projects have become "unviable". Many developers had signed redevelopment agreements with cooperative housing societies and procured initial permissions to commence work. Now this
sudden demand for an additional payment, running into a few crores for each project, has upset their calculations, they said.
    A civic official said the administration had received such protest letters, from developers but is yet to decide on the issue. Other sources said builders are riled because it cuts into their profits. The BMC justified it, saying the levy will boost its revenue.


• BMC is charging builders a 100% premium for not adhering to the open space stipulation while redeveloping a CHS

• Builders, especially the smaller players, are upset as the premium eats into their profits

• BMC defends move, says it will boost its revenues

• Such a premium is not applicable to slum rehabilitation projects
'UNACCEPTABLE DEMAND' Developers: Premium fallout could be grave
Mumbai: The BMC's decision to charge a premium on open space deficit comes at a time when the civic body raked in Rs 1,500 crore in the past year as premium from developers seeking to utilize 35% extra floor space index (FSI) for their residential projects. Known as Fungible FSI, it is already the third largest money-spinner for the civic administration after octroi and property tax. But an archi
tect complained that the new demand for a premium on open space deficiency is turning out more expensive than what developers pay for Fungible FSI. "This is unacceptable,'' said an architect with redevelopment projects in the suburbs.
    Builders said the latest premium, levied on a percentage of the area's ready reckoner rate, has forced them to rework or stall their projects. But some paid up under protest. Builder Nayan Shah said he recently paid up Rs 4 crore under protest for two of his projects in the eastern suburbs.
    Property market sources said in the past few months, civic officials were issuing only oral instructions to architects to pay the full premium in
exchange for the mandatory permission to commence work. But nothing is in writing. "The repercussions on the redevelopment market will be grave,'' they said.
    "Many projects are held up although plans are already approved. Developers are unable to execute the projects because the open space deficiency premium charged by the BMC is not viable. It has affected the overall viability of such projects,'' said Manoj Daisaria, architect and past president of Practising Engineers Architects and Town Planners Association (Peata).
    In a separate letter to the civic administration, Peata said, "Such exorbitant demands are not affordable to developers…'' The premium is levied only for housing society redevelopment projects and not on redevelopment of slums, cessed properties and Mhada colonies. "There is no premium for open space deficiency for rehab buildings in slum projects while the sale component buildings are charged at 10%. However, there are different parameters for redevelopment of co-operative housing societies and other redevelopment in suburbs where the open space deficiency is charged at 100% including the rehab component,'' said an architect, not wishing to be identified.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tardeo bldg in dock over flats built in refuge areas

Mumbai: The BMC has reported a host of irregularities in Willingdon Heights,a34-storey tower at Tardeo's Tulsiwadi, where apartments cost around Rs 5 crore.
    Refuge floors meant for fire-fighting have been converted into flats, stilt parking used as habitable area and several flats amalgamated by demoli
shing walls, the Bombay high court has been told in an ongoing battle between the residents, the builder, civic authorities and BEST.
    Last year, when the high court passed an interim order, directing these refuge areas to be cleared, the builder, Satellite Holdings, said it was not aware that the 16th, 24th and 31st floors were marked as refuge areas by the BMC. The developer said it would ask the BMC to regularize these areas if it was permitted to build six more floors with the balance floor space index (FSI) that it claims to possess.
    If the BMC allows this construction, the builder said it would relocate people occupying flats on the refuge floors. "This is the proposal which the applicant has to regularize the entire irregularity," said a notice of motion filed by Satellite. A senior civic official said no rules allow such irregularities to be condoned and the builder's claim of additional FSI will have to be verified. The court will hear the matter later this month.
'Tardeo building flouted norms'
Mumbai: The BMC has carried out an inspection of the posh 34-storey Willingdon Heights in Tardeo's Tulsiwadi and reported a slew of violations, non-compliance and work carried out beyond approved plans by the builder.
    The stilt parking area had been found covered with glazed partitions. On the first floor, the greater height stilt portion was covered with RCC slab while the meter room, telephone room and society room were converted into apartments.
    The civic team said between the 2nd and 23rd floors, elevations and entrance passages had been merged into flats. The 8th floor, marked as a refuge area, was found converted into a flat. From the 24th to 34th floors, the team reported that flats were amalgamated by demolishing partition walls. The lobby area was merged into apartments while parts of the kitchen area, elevation fea
tures and canopy were included in rooms. Toilet ducts were also found covered with RCC slabs. The area near the lift was covered and converted into a small room.
    "Thakker Tower is not constructed as per approved plans and, in fact, has not complied with the mandatory compliance stipulated by the concerned author
ities," said the BMC's report.
    The builder said that "in the interest of justice", the court should stay its order to clear the refuge area "till the time our proposal is sanctioned". "We will shift the occupant of the refuge area to the new flat on the additional construction which we are going to put up,'' it added. The de
veloper also asked the court to protect the flat owner on the 8th floor, which is a refuge area.
    In the meantime, the court stopped the BMC from acting against a first-floor resident after it was found that the space was originally meant for second stilt parking. Senior advocate Joaquim Reis, who represented the resident, said the BMC had granted part occupation certificate (OC) till the 14th floor. Hence, his client could not be thrown out because of the builder. "We took possession of the flat only after the BMC's OC," he said.
    Last year, Willingdon Heights (also known as Thakker Tower) dragged the BMC and Brihanmumbai Electric Supply Undertaking (BEST) to court for "illegally" threatening to disconnect its electricity connection and charging it a much higher rate for power.
    The dispute was over installing an electric sub-station on the building premises.

Refuge areas must at every 7th habitable floor: Rules
L ast year, the state government laid down stringent provisions for fire fighting and to curb misuse of refuge areas in skyscrapers. The new rules stipulate that a refuge area will have to be provided at every seventh habitable floor after the first 24m of a high-rise. "The refuge area shall be provided within building line at floor level. In case of high-rises with more than 30m height, the first refuge area shall be provided at 24m or first habitable floor, whichever is higher. Thereafter, the refuge area shall be provided at every seventh habitable floor," the norms state. The guidelines mention that a refuge area will now be restricted to just 4% of the habitable floor area it serves, and will be free of floor space index (FSI)—the ratio of permissible built-up area vis-à-vis the plot size. Refuge areas will be designated exclusively for the use of occupants "as temporary shelter and for the use of the fire brigade or any other organization dealing with emergencies and also for drills if conducted by the fire department". TNN


Monday, June 17, 2013

Officials meet to put elevated railway corridor on fast track

Mumbai: The ambitious 63 km-long elevated Churchgate-Virar rail corridor again gained traction. A joint inspection was carried out on Saturday by officials of the Planning Commission, the railway board and state agencies to sort out critical issues so that there are no hurdles in the project's implementation.
    The project has been delayed because of difference of opinion between the state government, the Planning Commission and the railways on the quantum of floor space index and relocation of utilities.
    A senior railway official said, "This development augurs well for the project and
will help speed up the execution of the bidding process. A joint inspection report is likely to be prepared within a fortnight, following which meetings will be held to iron out remaining differences."
    "The team spent eight hours surveying the alignment and the eight land parcel where commercial exploitation of land is proposed," an
official said. "Important projects like Metro were delayed because of divergent view points. This kind of teamwork can prevent cost escalations due to delays."

No. of stations | 26
Length | 63.04 km (16.54 km will be underground,
36.5 km
will be elevated and 10 km will be at the ground level along existing tracks)
Maximum speed a train can attain on the corridor | 100 kmph
Frequency of trains | Every 3 minutes
No. of coaches per rake | 8
Model | Public-Private Partnership
Estimated cost of project | 25,000 cr
The railways has demanded an FSI of 4 for each of the eight land parcels where commercial exploitation is proposed
The state government feels that FSI for each plot should be determined separately on the basis of the land's development and infrastructure potential
The state is also vary of a clause in the State Support Agreement (SSA) that will allow bidders to claim damages from it if the agencies fail to relocate the utilities in a timebound manner


Friday, June 14, 2013


VIBHA SINGH highlights the dangers involved when it comes to staying in buildings that are older than 60 years and urges the tenants residing in them, to relocate at the earliest, by bringing in the government officials into the picture

Esplanade building, a heritage structure, and Botawala Chawl at Mazgaon, are in a decrepit state due to lack of repairs. These two buildings have featured on the list of cessed buildings for the last five years and no repair has been done. Officials said that these buildings have been identified as old for several years and that they have now prepared a plan to evacuate the residents from these buildings before the monsoons.
    The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority 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. Out of these, the developers have provided alternate accommodation for 117 residential and 27 non-residential premises. "There is no point in the exercise if people do not pay heed to the notice. The government should permit us to use special powers to forcibly evict the tenants," says Lal in his letter. Officials of the Mumbai Building Repairs and Reconstruction Board informs that 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.
    The Mumbai Repair Board of the MHADA, announces the list of unsafe buildings every year before the monsoons and conducts a survey of buildings in the city. According to the survey, wards like A, B and C have four to six storeyed buildings, constructed 100-125 years ago. "Roads and lanes are narrow, sewage and garbage disposal systems have completely collapsed, leading to unhygienic conditions," the survey added. Repair Board chief executive officer, Mohan Thombre, stated that residents of these buildings refuse to vacate the premises and ignore the Repair Board notices. Thom
bre, added, "The tenants should be concerned about their lives and relocate to transit camps. It is the only safeguard against collapses we can offer."
    Also, a recent study by the Mumbai Transformation Support Unit had revealed that merely eight per cent of the 16,000-odd cessed buildings in the city, have been redeveloped since 1999. Most residents of old buildings are tenants paying nominal rents of Rs 30 to 150 to landlords. Since, the rents are low, frozen at 1942 rates under the Rent Control
Act, landlords claim to have no funds to repair these buildings or even maintain them. Zero maintenance, coupled with typical old wooden framework means these buildings are dangerous to live in. Residents have made internal changes, even structural ones that weaken the buildings. So, every year, the MHADA runs through an exercise to determine Grade I, II and III danger for the three categories: pre-1940, 1940 to 1950 and post 1950 construction. The old buildings become unfit for habitation as a result of neglect of normal repairs; buildings reach a dilapidated state after routine repairs have been neglected consistently over a period of time. This neglect can pose an immediate threat to the occupants and can eventually lead to the structural weakening of the whole building. Widening cracks in the wall, a low creaking sound from wooden beams or posts, progressively obvious sagging of beams, may constitute an early indication of loss of structural integrity. Dampness is another factor that can lead to serious problems in buildings. A damp patch is usually noticed near the water closet and bathroom area.
    The BMC officials inspect what they can and declare a building safe or unsafe depending on visual inspection. "There is no machinery in the world to do a comprehensive inspection of
wooden structures," claims a MHADA source. "We know of machines that do an ultrasound check of RCC structures but we have to rely on visual inspection, mostly from the outside of the building. How do we assess the strength of the foundation?" says the source.
    Activists say the civic administration should have a long-term plan in place, as against carrying out demolition drives before the monsoon. "There is no system in place to carry out structural stability checks of old buildings routinely. A mechanism for year-long structural audits should be developed," points out Rajkumar Sharma, a civic activist. He adds that not just old
buildings but buildings built 30 or 40 years back, should also be checked on a regular basis. Repair Board chief officer, Mahendra Varbhuvan has appealed to the tenants to contact its control room if they observe any cracks, cracks widening, concrete falling or any such complaints. The control room is operational 24X7. The Mhada Control Room, Rajani Mahal Tardeo: 2353 6945, 2351 7423


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Mumbai gets freeway today, not without bumps No CCTV Cams Present On Signal-Free, 17-km Route

 Fourteen kilometres of the long-awaited Eastern Freeway will be opened to traffic by 9 am on Friday, making a signal-free drive possible between Chembur and South Mumbai. But there are riders: for a 17-km long bridge (3km to be opened in December), there is going to be little supervision by the traffic police, and the freeway's feeder and arrival routes, including roads leading to the main entrance and exit points,haveobstacleslike encroachments and parking of heavy vehicles. 

    The number of towing vans and traffic cops to be present on the freeway will not be sufficient for such a long route, said a traffic expert. "Hence, there should be a good CCTV camera system, including a control room from where the police willbe ableto monitor the entire length of the freeway and ensure that traffic violators are booked, and, more importantly, ensure quick action in case there are accidents," the expert said. 
    The main challenge will be maintaining the flowof traffic ateither end of the freeway, said an expertworking closely with the government. "Between the freeway's Orange Gate ramp and CST, there are encroachments along P D'Mello Road and also parking of heavy vehicles. I think the solution lies in giving proper space to private truckers and motorists coming to ports and godowns. Their present parking site on P D'Mello Road has to go if smooth traffic flows has to be maintained from the freeway for South Mumbai." 
    Things are not smooth at the other end of the freeway—Shivaji Chowk near R K Studios in Chembur—either. "Here, four roads culminate, bringing a high volume of traffic. Hence, signalling time will go up for traffic coming from the freeway," said Vidur Shah, a resident of Chembur. "This will be a dampener for those hoping for a fast commute towards Navi Mumbai from the freeway." 
    Transport expert Ashok Datar said all entry and exit ramps along the freeway should be made ready at the earliest to achieve the intended benefits of a costly infra project. "Maximum accessibility to the freeway will multiply its success." 

Orange Gate landing and 
take-off on P D'Mello Road | 
Hutment and godown 
encroachments, parking of heavy vehicles between Orange Gate ramp and CST. Certain stretches are uneven and thus prone to waterlogging 
Novelty factor | Since the EFW is 14-km long, motorists 
will take time to get used to its exit and entry ramps. Ramps in spots like BPT Road toll post and Bhakti Park in Wadala are yet to be built. A 700-metre road between BPT Road and Wadala-Chembur Road, which will provide continuous connectivity along the EFW, is yet to be completed 
Points at Shivaji Chowk near R K Studios in Chembur | Four major roads culminate here. Thus Navi Mumbai-bound traffic at the EFW 
exit at Shivaji Square will have a long wait for the green signal. Parking of heavy vehicles on the Mankhurd-Vashi Road can further reduce traffic flow 
The police fear that some motorists may not be able to resist the temptation to speed up on a flyover as long as the freeway, thus leading to accidents 
BENEFITS Friday onwards | Traffic to Navi Mumbai, Goa, Pune, Chembur, Kurla, Panvel, Deonar and Mankhurd 
December onwards | Traffic to Thane, Airoli, Mulund and Ghatkopar after a 3-km section of the EFW is opened 
General | The EFW's Ghatkopar end is 
near the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road and the upcoming Santa Cruz Chembur Link Road 
Entry to the EFW barred for two- and 
three-wheelers, animal carts, bicycles and 
tricycles, and pedestrians 
Entry barred for heavy vehicles like trailers and transport vehicles except BEST and state buses. Entry barred for luxury private buses 
Like on JJ flyover, the traffic police are to monitor vehicular speed 

PROJECT PARTICULARS MMRDA engineers involved | Chief engineer: Sharad Sabnis; superintending engineers: D P Deshmukh, V N Ghanekar; executive engineers: J R Dhane, M V Jaitpal, D S Bhaik; deputy engineers: A B Dhabe, G D Rathod, S Vijay Kumar; assistant engineers: J B Patil, V S Kambale, P S Pawar, B V Biradar Consultants | Consulting Engineering Services, 
STUP Consultants 
Contractors | Simplex Infrastructure, Madhucon Projects, J Kumar 

Times View: Let EFW be used without delay 
Two days of monsoon have been able to expose the state of preparedness of Mumbai's infrastructure agencies. And it would be unfair to target the BMC; other agencies, too, have not covered themselves with glory. But what we find really galling is the continued wait for a worthy (from Delhi?) to inaugurate the Eastern Freeway even though the roads below are creaking under the combined weight of traffic and water logging. Seeing an empty— and completed—EFW while negotiating traffic and accumulated water on the old roads is a cruel joke. 

This Times View appeared on June 11, following which the government opened the Eastern Freeway to traffic


CAUGHT IN BLDRS’ TIFF Versova redevpt project investors to move court

Mumbai: Buyers who had booked flats in a Versova project will move the Bombay high court after a dispute between two of its developers left them in the lurch. 

    A hundred and sixty people had invested around Rs 60 lakh each with Vaidehi Akash Housing for flats in the redevelopment project of D N Nagar Cooperative Housing Societies between 2006 and 2008. But the project is caught in a legal fight between Vaidehi Akash and Rustomjee Realty, who later acquired the development rights on a portion of the land. 
    Suresh Mehta, one of the investors told TOIon Wednesday that some of them would file an intervention application in the HC, which is hearing the dispute between the two developers. "We have registered our agreements but both the parties are not willing to honour the commitments," he said. 

    Vaidehi was originally appointed by the society as developers in December 2005. The project involves eight buildings that house 480 families on the prime plot at Juhu-Link Road. Following financial constraints, Vaidehi assigned the development rights on a portion of land that falls under the free sale component to Rustomjee in April 2007. Vaidehi moved court in 2009, alleging that Rustomjee failed to fulfil commitments. 
    The HC has directed D N Nagar Cooperative Housing Societies Union and Rustomjee to file their replies to Vaidehi's application and that no development should be carried out till its plea is heard. It will hear the matter on Thursday. 

    Three other buyers had moved the state consumer disputes redressal panel, accusing Vaidehi of deficiency in service. But the panel rejected it, saying it was not a "consumer dispute". It said the flats could not be provided because the housing society terminated the agreement with Vaidehi.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Old bldgs’ audit must; BMC to vacate dangerous structures

Mumbai: The BMC has issued a public notice asking residents of all over 30-yearold buildings to conduct a structural audit within 30 days and submit the reportto the local ward office. This salvo came the day after the Mahim building collapse.The decision was taken in a meeting on Tuesday headed by municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte. 

    Meanwhile, it was also decided in the meeting the BMC will send eviction notices to all buildings that are classified as extremely dangerous during their pre-monsoon survey and will evict such building before June 15. 
    Around 950 city building have been marked as dangerous; at least 10% of these buildings fall in the extreme
ly dangerous category. 
    The BMC has put to use the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act's Section 353A and asked residents of 30-year-plus buildings to get them inspected by qualified structural engineers. The BMC has records of buildings that are over 30 years old. 
    The public notice also mentions that the buildings should take steps mentioned by the structural engineer within six months, failing which appropriate action will be taken. 
    "Buildings that are at least 30 years old may become structurally weak. Following inspection, one can identify whether the structure has developed any problems and can be rectified. If the Mahim building had been inspected in time, the crash may have been averted," said a senior civic official. Officials added that the building owner can be prosecuted if found guilty. 


The BMC notice asks owners of buildings that are over 30 years old to undertake structural audit Inspection reports must be submitted to local ward offices in 30 days Rectification must in six months or action likely There are 950 dilapidated buildings in the city; 90 are 'extremely dangerous'


Society can boot out erring bldr from redevpt deal: HC

Mumbai: A housing society cannot be forced to go with a builder who has repeatedly failed to stick to the agreement and delayed the redevelopment project, the Bombay high court ruled on Monday. 
    "The work of redevelopment of a housing society is such that a society must have confidence in its developers," said Justice Shahrukh J Kathawalla. "Once the members of the society have expressed loss of trust, faith and confidence in the developer on account of various deviations and violations... the society cannot be forced to get the redevelopment work done through the builder." 
    The court dismissed an application filed by the developer, Gorwani Builders, seeking an interim order to stop Ideal Cooperative Housing Society at Juhu Circle from issuing fresh tenders to invite bids from other developers for the building's redevelopment. The court noted that Ideal housing society had been "waiting 
for the last four years for redevelopment of its property," but the "conduct of the builder shows that he was not ready and willing to abide by the agreement". 
    The society had invited proposals for redevelopment and selected Gorwani Builders in March 2010. No MoU or development agreement was signed. The developer had deposited Rs 50 lakh with the society which asked it to go ahead with the redevelopment work on the basis of the expression of interest (EoI) terms.

    Despite specific instructions that the new building should be a residential-plus-commercial structure with flats only for the existing 24 tenants, Gorwani proposed commercial space in the basement and the ground floor, two-level parking, seven floors for existing residents and flats on the 11th floor for sale in the open market. The court noted that the builder also sought to deviate from the terms which related to security deposit of Rs 50 lakh, bank guarantee of Rs 3 crore and the corpus fund. 
    In 2011, when Gorwani learnt Ideal was planning to invite fresh tenders for the redevelopment, it issued a notice to the society. Subsequently, Gorwani filed a suit, asking the court to order Ideal to execute a development agreement or pay Rs 15 crore in damages. It also filed an application seeking to stop the society from calling for fresh proposals. The court dismissed the plea saying Gorwani "repeatedly deviated from EoI terms''.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Many notch up multiple wins in Mhada flat lottery

Mumbai: Yet again, the annual Mhada housing lottery has thrown up at least 20 individuals and families who have won multiple flats. This is the fifth year in a row that TOI has spotted this trend. 
    Around 70,000 people had applied for 1,200 flats this year. "Each family unit comprising husband, wife and minor children will be allotted only one flat of their choosing. Our lottery system is foolproof," said Vaishali Wagh, Mhada chief PRO. However, the list of final allottees is not in the public domain. Until then, repeat winners can rejoice at their luck. 
    This year, ex-serviceman Mohan Bhange has struck gold with two wins in Borivli and Malad apart from one waitlist in Malwani. In the freedom fighters' slot, Anand Vagaj has bagged a win and a waitlist in Malwani while 
Mohan Wagaj wins in the physically handicapped category in Mandale, Mankhurd. In 2012, TOI had reported how a couple in their 20s won five apartments, some in the freedom fighters' category. Several journalists have a rare choice of apartments to choose from as well. 
    The family of Dhondbaji Mudholkar must have a celebration planned with three wins between them. Narendra Dhondbaji Mudholkar wins and is waitlisted in Powai under the denotified tribe code while Manoj Dhondbaji Mudholkar hits the waitlist in Borivli. 
    The list is long. Sangeeta Bhalerao, Santosh Gedam, freedom fighters Neelkanth and Gajanan Gawankar, Nikhil Kambli, Sanjeev Dineshmohan, Sonali Deshmukh, Yashwant Ahire, Shamal Rathod and Gangaram Gajbinkar all figure two times each.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

After Union Act, fate of state realty law hangs in balance

Mumbai: A day after the Union cabinet approved a proposal to set up a real estate regulator to protect home buyers from fraudulent builders, the fate of a similar Bill, passed by both the Houses of the state legislature nearly a year ago, hangs in the balance.
    "If the Centre has drafted a proposal to set up a regulator to protect home buyers from unscrupulous developers, it will not grant assent to our Bill. In that case, we will have to wait till the Centre enacts a new law," a senior bureaucrat told TOI on Wednesday. On May 8, Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha member Bharatkumar Raut had sought information on the status of the Maharashtra Housing (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2012.
    Union minister of state for home Mullappally Ramachandran confirmed that the stateapproved Bill, seeking assent of the President, was received by the ministry of home affairs on September 7, 2012, "We have received comments from all ministries, except from that of the housing and poverty alleviation. The ministry was last sent a reminder on February 25, 2013," he said, adding that a deadline could not be set for the approval of the state legislation as it required discussions of the Centre and the state.
    The bureaucrat felt that under such circumstances, it appeared that the Centre would soon return the Bill. "The law
is very clear. If the Centre is bringing in a legislation, no similar law can be brought in by any other state," he said.
    When chief minister Prithviraj Chavan introduced the Bill in the assembly on April 7, 2012, he had said the Maharashtra Ownership Flats (Regulation, Construction, Sale, Management and Transfer Act), 1963—which was fivedecade old—was not effective in protecting the interest of flat buyers as promoters would wriggle out of the compulsory clauses on one pretext or the other. To protect the interest of buyers and implement the
spirit of the law, the state decided to bring in a new law by repealing the 1963 legislation and taking into account earlier amendments as well as the model real estate Act and the real estate Bill of the Centre.
    In the Bill, Chavan proposed the setting up of a housing regulatory authority and a housing appellate tribunal for ensuring effective implementation of the Act to promote planned development, construction, sale, transfer and management of flats and residential buildings. On one hand, it works towards public interest in relation to the con
duct and integrity of promoters and on the other, facilitates the smooth and speedy construction and maintenance of properties. Moreover, the Bill aims at compelling promoters and developers into disclosure of their project details and also ensuring compliance of agreed terms and conditions, while registering, monitoring and regulating housing projects by the housing regulatory authority.
    Above all, the state Bill ushers in transparency and discipline in home transactions and put a check on abuses and malpractices.


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