Category Archives: MMRDA

‘Civic body has flawed land use plan for Koliwadas’

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Mumbai: The presence of Koliwadas and Kolis has been overlooked and they are marginalized sections, where city urbanization has eluded them. To see how the existing land use (ELU) plan, recently made public by the civic body, has impacted Koliwadas in Mumbai, Yuva, an NGO, along with the Maharashtra Machimar Kruthi Samiti, has found 70 errors in the mapping of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s ELU survey in 10 Koliwadas alone. The ELU map will help formulate the development plan (DP) of Mumbai in 2014.

The errors range from not mapping entire Koliwadas, as in the case of Malvani and Bhatti Koliwada, Malad (W), where they were marked as residential areas. In another case, Chimbai Koliwada is mapped as an informal settlement. In many other Koliwadas, informal settlements are interchanged with Koliwadas.

The survey is ignoring the coastal regulation zone (CRZ) notification of 2011 on Koliwadas. A major error is Koliwadas are not marked as Koliwadas or urban villages but they are marked as residential areas. Chimbai Koliwada is marked as a slum cluster. This will attract the builders’ lobby. If the DP moves on, and unfortunately Kolis don’t notice this, and it is approved, it will be a flawed DP. We are trying to address the issue that they are natives of the city and their culture and identity are important for the city, as Mumbai derives its name from their goddess Mumbadevi,” said Aarvind Unni, an architect with YUVA, an NGO that works for the urban poor.

The ELU survey also does not map formal and informal markets where Koli women play an active role. For example, in Khar Danda Koliwada, a civic fish market has not been mapped, as also Sassoon Dock, which is one of the biggest wholesale fish markets, has been shown as a transport node.

“It is very important that such markets be mapped in the ELU survey and be employed to recognize and formalize such informal markets in the coming DP,” said Unni.

The other major errors that have emerged from the study of the ELU survey are in the form of marking land parcels being used by the fishing community as ‘vacant’ or reserving them under some other use. But a lot of land is being used by the Koli community for fishing-related activity, like fish drying, net drying, place for keeping boats, sheds for maintenance and other ancillary uses related to fishing.

The ELU survey maps fishing-related activities as primary in the cases of Juhu and Worli Koliwada. “But in all other cases, it does not accurately map activities on the ground, thus giving a false picture of land parcels being vacant or not developed, which in reality has got deep socio-economic linkages with Koliwadas and the Koli community,” said Unni.

ELU SURVEY & ITS ERRORS

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s existing land use (ELU) plan has not mapped entire Koliwadas, as in the case of Malvani and Bhatti Koliwada, Malad (W), where the Koliwadas were not marked as a distinct area but as residential areas. In another case, Chimbai Koliwada is mapped as an informal settlement. In many other Koliwadas, informal settlements are interchanged with Koliwadas

Khar Danda Koliwada, a civic fish market, has not been mapped. Sassoon Dock, one of the biggest wholesale fish markets, is shown as a transport node

ELU survey is in the form of marking land parcels being used by the community as ‘vacant’ or reserving them under some other use. A lot of land is used by the community for fi shing-related activity

KOLIS, THEIR HISTORY AND AREAS INHABITED BY THEM
The Kolis were the earliest inhabitants of the archipelago, now known as Mumbai, dating back 400 years. They were members of the Kul tribe, which migrated at the beginning of the Christian era. There are 38 Koliwadas today. They survived periods of Hindu colonization in the 13th century, Muslim rule until the mid-16th century, colonization, and the development of modern Mumbai. The city’s original name comes from Mumbadevi, the patron deity of the Kolis

Source : TOI

CM outlines new Dharavi redevpt plan

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Mumbai: The much-delayed Dharavi revamp project will now be developed as a cluster of 13 phases instead of five bigger sectors, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said on Monday.

Chavan has put the Rs 5,600-crore project on the fast-track, while setting a deadline of August for inviting bids for the phases. Chavan has planned to issue work orders by October-end.

The breaking up of project into phases will facilitate the bidding process while the outline and core norms will continue to govern the project as a township.

For the sake of this arrangement, a single developer will be allowed to bid for all phases or a cluster. “Monitored by a regulator, these smaller phases will be integrated, in terms of amenities and infrastructure. The regulators will ensure essential similarity remained in these phases,” said an officer, adding that physical dimensions of old sectors will stay the same .

The government has also decided to appoint a bidding consultant, will ensure seamless integration of amenities and will be responsible for removing all hutments. “We are looking at a reputed firm for this work,” said chief secretary J K Banthia.

Chavan has decided to prepare a formal sanction plan and will bring it in the public domain. The state has also decided to call fresh teners to select a project management consultant.

The Maharashtra government has, in the past, recieved flak for having little clarity on the project.

Ever since it was approved in 2004, it has run into hurdles. Tenders have been called off too.

Five years ago it had accepted a private consultant’s advice for redeveloping Dharavi in five zones with each as a separate township since slum rehab schemes do not provide civic infrastructure like wider roads and hospitals. Sector 5 was to be developed by Mhada.

Officials said the arrangement will stay in place and it will not be included in the phases.

Source : TOI

Tenants, know your rights

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When Karan Singh leased an apartment in a plush housing society in Mumbai a year-and-ahalf ago, little did he realise that he would have to face problems. When he moved in, he was asked to pay a monthly fee of 1,000 and 1,500 for two parking spaces for his cars. After three months, the rates were hiked to 1,500 and 2,000. “Recently, the society increased the fee to 3,000 and 10,000,” says an exasperated Singh. He approached the flat owner, who took up the matter with the society secretary. “The secretary has not given us a satisfactory answer on the hike in charges every three months. We may have to take legal action if he refuses to budge from his stand,” says the 40-year-old bank executive.

Singh’s problem is not unique. In fact, he is lucky to have a landlord who favours him In many cases, owners refuse to get involved in disputes between tenants and housing societies. “Tenants are bullied by both the owner and the housing society because they are neither legal owners nor members of the society. However, there is legal recourse against such harassment tha is open to tenants,” says Vinod Sampat, re estate lawyer and president, Cooperative Societies Residential Users Association.

Negotiating with the owner
Your rights as a tenant depend largely on the nature of your lease agreement. There are two types of agreements: rental and leave & licence. Under the former, there is a transfer of interest, wherein the tenant cannot be made to vacate the premises, except on the grounds for eviction that are stipulated by the Rent Act or the State Rent Control Act, under which the agreement falls. On the other hand, a leave & licence agreement stipulates that a tenant can be asked to vacate without any reason after a month’s notice or as has been agreed to by the two parties. Also, rental agreements come under the State Rent Control Act, so the owner cannot fix his own rent. However, in the case of a leave & licence agreement, the owner can decide the rent he wants to charge. The latter gives more control to the owner over the property, which is why it is more common than the former.

As a tenant, you need to ascertain your rights before you sign the agreement. Negotiate with the owner on the things that are important to you. Will you get a fully furnished house or can you install your own fixtures? How often and at what time will the owner come to inspect the property? If you inform the owner of a pending repair work, how much time will he take to respond? “Such details should be decided before the agreement is signed. Though no owner will allow a tenant to alter the basic structure of the house, you can ask for changes that you deem necessary,” says Shveta Jain, director, residential services, Cushman & Wakefield.

After the contract has been designed to your and the owner’s satisfaction, you ould get it registered, so that neither rty can harass the other in the future. So, has been decided that seepage or acked walls should be repaired within 30 ys, and the owner fails to address the ue, you have the right to get the work ne and deduct the expenses from the t. In case the owner raises an objection, u can approach the police or a civil court the basis of the registered agreement. wever, expenses on renovation or mainance caused by your own negligence, ch as a broken window pane or damaged ors, will not be considered for deduction m the rent.

Handling the housing society
Housing societies tend to impose their own rules, which are not legally binding. For instance, some societies restrict the owners from leasing their apartments to single people, nonvegetarians or those with pets. However, according to a 1990

Supreme Court ruling in the Sanwarmal Kejriwal versus Vishwa Cooperative Housing Society case, a member can keep the tenants of his choice.

Apart from this, housing societies tend to charge a premium for maintenance and other facilities from the tenant. “Ideally, the society cannot charge extra from the tenant because the latter does not deal with the society, just the owner,” says Ravi Goenka, advocate, Goenka Law Associates. However, under the pretext of providing additional security because of the presence of non-members, that is, the tenants, a society may levy additional charges. Such charges have to be arrived at mutually with the consent of all members, including the owner. “While a society is allowed to frame rules for its administration, it cannot force tenants to pay fees that are exorbitant and oppressive in nature. These arbitrary charges tend to be in violation of the constitution and, hence, can be challenged in court,” says Sampat.

Besides, the society has to frame rules that conform to the model bye-laws of the cooperative housing society. Most societies are members of the National Cooperative Housing Federation of India (nchfindia.net) and have to follow the bye-laws laid down by it. “If a tenant believes that a charge has been arbitrarily levied on him, he should ask the society to specify in writing the section of the model bye-laws under which it has been charged. If the society has come up with a charge that it cannot legally impose, the tenant can raise objections, and if need be, approach a cooperative court,” advises Goenka.

In case of harassment or unfair discrimination by the society, the tenant should approach the cooperative court along with the owner. He cannot do so on his own since he is not a member of the housing society, while the owner is. If, on the other hand, the tenant is harassed by the owner or refuses to accompany him to the court, he can approach the police as well as the civil court. Cooperative courts are set up by the state government in some districts, but if there isn’t one in your state, you can approach a consumer/civil court.

Responsibilities of tenants

• Do not sub-let the property to a third person.

• Pay your rent on time.

• Keep the property in good order.

• Allow the owner to inspect the property at a mutually agreed upon time.

• If you have friends or relatives staying with you, inform the owner.

• Give the owner access to property to carry out repairs

Source : ET

Mumbai Builder held for trying to grab dead man’s plot

Mumbai: The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) has arrested a developer who tried to usurp a dead man’s plot, estimated to be worth Rs 1.52 crore, by showing the owner, Ramchandra Patil, had sold it to him.

The arrested developer, Atul Patel, and his father, Nathlal Delvadia, also an accused, knew Patil and in 1988 had offered to
buy the plot, measuring 2,178 sq yards in Eksar village, Borivli. The accused duo had made a part payment.

However, three years later, Patil died and the accused did not pay the balance amount. “After Patil’s death, his son, daughter and daughter in-law were the plot’s rightful owners. Patel and Delvadia, who owned Atul builders and Associates, never paid the arrears to the Patil family,” a police officer said.

 In 2008, Patel allegedly produced a man at the deputy tehsildar’s office identifying him as Ramchandra Patil and completed the procedures for the sale of the land. “On November 21, 2008, Patel submitted an application to the office of the sub-divisional officer in Bandra. Fake documents were also prepared and submitted to the sub-divisional office. Letters were sent to other offices related to the sale and purchase and the statement of the seller and purchaser was signed by the then deputy tehsildar as ‘Before Me’. On December 23, permission to sell the property was approved,” said the officer.

The police are also verifying the information that an agent had facilitated the entire process by charging Rs 5.5 lakh from Patel. The property is valued at Rs 1.52 crore. A case of cheating, forgery and impersonation has been registered. “Patel had fraudulently obtained the sale permission, prepared the conveyance deed and got the same registered. The property is in his name now. It’s a serious offence and we have taken him in custody till January 17 for interrogation,” said a police source.
Source : TOI

Mumbai Property :New FSI rule yields 938cr for BMC

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Mumbai: The city’s builders have enriched the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) by nearly Rs 1,000 crore within a few months. Between April and December 2012, India’s richest civic body raked in Rs 938 crore as premium from developers seeking to utilize 35% extra floor space index (FSI) for their residential projects. The huge collection comes at a time when the property market is virtually stagnant.

The new policy formulated by the previous municipal commissioner, Subodh Kumar, and approved by the state government a year ago has finally reaped a huge dividend for the BMC. “We expect this amount to touch Rs 1,500 crore by the end of the financial year in March,” civic chief Sitaram Kunte told TOI.

The money accrued from builders will be ploughed back to augment Mumbai’s civic infrastructure—roads, sewage and water supply. The premium for what is termed as “fungible FSI” in the construction industry is all set to become the third largest money-spinner for the civic administration.

“After octroi and property tax, the premium on fungible FSI will be our major source of income this year,” said Kunte. The BMC hopes to collect Rs 7,000 crore as octroi and Rs 3,300 crore as property tax by the end of this financial year.

The first builder in Mumbai to pay the premium was Nayan Shah of Mayfair Housing. The Runwal Group is believed to have paid one of the highest premiums of around Rs 70 crore for its housing project in Mulund.

Kumar formulated the new policy to streamline the non-transparent and highly corrupt building approvals system. It curtails the municipal commissioner’s discretionary powers to grant building concessions to developers. Earlier, municipal commissioners liberally cleared projects with unusually large flower beds, voids, lily ponds and car decks. These areas are not included in the building’s FSI. These concessions allowed developers to build an additional 50% to 80% above the permitted built-up area.

The developer would sell these free spaces to buyers at market rate and then encourage them to illegally amalgamate these areas to make the apartment bigger.

Most building files will now be approved at the civic executive engineer’s level. Only in rare cases will they be put up before the commissioner.

THE MONEY-SPINNER

Between April and December 2012, the BMC raked in `938 crore as premium from developers seeking to utilize 35% extra floor space index (FSI) for their residential projects

The biggest chunk of premium has come from builders in the western suburbs between Bandra and Dahisar. As much as 522 crore or more than half the total collection in the past nine months came from this region alone

Developers in the eastern suburbs between Ghatkopar and Mulund paid about 333 crore during this period

The island city, where property prices are the highest in some enclaves, contributed 83 crore to the civic kitty

The maximum monthly collection ( 348 crore) was made in last December In all, 715 applications were made by builders to avail of fungible FSI in this period
Source : TOI

Most ‘green’ bldgs may not be green

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Mumbai: If you are planning to buy property, then don’t get easily swayed by a project’s green tag. Chances are that it may not be “green” in the true sense of the word. While many high-end projects are generously using the “green building” tag to boost sales, only a handful has availed of the government incentive for eco-friendly buildings.

Last year, the state introduced a scheme where buildings with green certification were given priority for environmental clearance, which often takes over a-year-and-ahalf. However, the response to the scheme has only been lukewarm. Said secretary of environment department Valsa Nair Singh, “Only five in 300 buildings are availing of the incentive at the moment.”

The requirement of an official green certification could be one of the reasons for the poor response, said a senior state official, adding that the process of certification is tedious and can cost up to a few lakhs of rupees. “Construction material and technologies for green certification raise the cost of a project by at least 10%,” he added.

Sunil Mantri of Mantri Realty admitted that getting the certification was a challenge. Pointing out that lack of awareness about the government sop could be the reason for the poor response, he said, “I did not know about the incentive even though I have three ongoing green-certified projects in Mumbai,” he said.

Niranjan Hiranandani of the Hiranandani Group also said that he was unaware of the incentive. Welcoming the move, he echoed Mantri’s views and said the state must spread awareness about it.

Admitting that the “green” tag attracts buyers, Mantri demanded concessions in scrutiny fee for proposals and higher FSI for such buildings.

Last year, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan announced that the government would soon announce a “green code” to encourage eco-friendly buildings. It was proposed that citizens who buy flats in buildings following the “code” would get tax concessions. Developers of such projects, too, stand to gain concessions in fee. Singh said the proposal was in advanced stages.

WHAT IS A GREEN BUILDING?

A green building is one which uses less water, optimises energy efficiency, conserves natural resources, generates less waste and provides healthier spaces for occupants,
as compared to a conventional building

GOVT SOPS FOR ECO-FRIENDLY STRUCTURES

Prioritized environmental clearances for such buildings
The state plans to offer concessions in property taxes as well as water and sewerage charges
The state plans to launch a green code this year. It will make the use of green technologies mandatory in government buildings and later apply them to private buildings
At present, only five out of 300 buildings avail of government incentives at any given time

INDUSTRY DEMANDS

With the green building norms raising the construction cost by 10% and the certification process costing a few lakhs, the construction industry wants the government to offer concessions in scrutiny fee for building proposals and a higher FSI for green buildings
STAMP OF APPROVAL

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Indian Green Building Council (ICBC) certification of the Confederation of the Indian Industry are the most sought green certifications in the country

Source : TOI

Key boost for 5k cr Dharavi revamp plan

ImageMumbai: The state government on Saturday provided a much-needed fillip for the Rs 5,600-crore Dharavi revamp project.

A decision was taken to appoint a “bidding consultant” for the project after chief secretary J K Banthia met officials of the Dharavi Redevelopment Project Authority. The government has decided to prepare a ‘formal sanction plan’ for the project and put it in public domain. Later, feedback will be invited over the project. Currently, the state is looking at developing only Sector 5 of the project that houses nearly 9,000 slums.

Source : TOI

State rolls out red carpet for investors with promise of speedy green nod

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After doling out a string of land and fiscal incentives to reel in investors in its new industrial policy, the state government has now sweetened the deal further. With delays and red tape in environmental clearances remaining a big hurdle for investment in the state, the government has decided to take steps to ensure applications are disposed of in three months.

Environmental clearances often take over a year-and-half at present. A senior state official said the lengthy process has also discouraged certain potential investors.

Now, with the race to lure investors hotting up between states, the state government has decided to change this perception.

To The state-level expert appraisal committee (SEAC) scrutinizes projects and their impact on the environment. Projects are cleared or rejected on the basis of SEAC recommendations.

Currently, the state has a couple of SEACs in place. While one examines construction and industrial projects in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), the other scrutinizes industrial, irrigation, construction and other projects outside the MMR.

The clearance process has been adversely hit with both the SEACs having a pendency of 300 cases at any given time. A five-month delay in appointing the SEAC and a spurt in applications are blamed for the backlog.

To fast-track the clearance for industrial projects, the government will now set up a separate SEAC, exclusively for industrial projects. CM Prithviraj Chavan is keen that applications are disposed of within three months, said an official. Chavan has also proposed a separate SEAC for real estate projects in the MMR. Conceding that slow environmental clearances remain a major investor concern, Chavan recently said he had held discussions with PM Manmohan Singh in this context.

To retain the status of most-favoured destination for investment, the state has already announced a slew of measures in its new industrial policy. A controversial clause which permits special economic zones to be converted into townships with an FSI of 1 in most cases is a part of it.

Eco-sensitive Konkan gets a breather

In a green fillip to the eco-sensitive Konkan region, the state government has decided to consider the environment impact of a proposed project on a bigger area than, as is the current practice, just its immediate surroundings.

The Maharashtra Pollution Control Board has proposed a cumulative environment impact assessment (CEIA) by a government-recognized agency while considering new projects. The move comes after demands for CEIAs, as individual EIAs submitted by companies are often flawed, as pointed out in the Madhav Gadgil report on the Western Ghats. TNN

Uprooted slumdwellers fell trees to rebuild homes

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Mumbai: A day after the civic body demolished over a thousand illegal shanties at Ganpat Patil Nagar in Dahisar, slumdwellers had made preparations to reconstruct shanties by felling trees.

TOI had captured images of trees that were felled by the slum dwellers, a day before the demolition. However, a police cordon prevented slumdwellers from reconstructing tenements. The excavation and digging of trenches to deter resettling of slums has started by the civic body.

On Friday, the BMC marked the periphery around the mangroves by digging a four-foot trench. “On Friday, we made a trench marking 50 metres away from the mangroves. We marked a boundary at the site of Thursday’s demolition,” said deputy municipal commissioner BR Marathe. “We will have a surprise demolition. The moment we declare dates, the opposition increases and slumdwellers become alert,” he added.

For now, the BMC and police will continue to keep tabs on slumdwellers in the area.

The BMC razed 1,410 illegal huts at Ganpat Patil Nagar near Kanderpada in Dahisar, in one of the biggest drives against encroachments in the western suburbs. On January 8, TOI reported on how mangroves faced destruction with around 8,000 unauthorized shanties having mushroomed on the coastal regulation zone-I land in Dahisar.

 

MAKING OF THE SHANTY TOWN

In 1995, there were 198 shanties in Ganpat Patil Nagar at Dahisar, slumdwellers’ names mentioned in the electoral roll

Currently, approximately 8,000 illegal shanties have come up on coastal regulatory zone (CRZ-1) land

Theft of water and power has increased with the proliferation of slums

 

BMC THROWS THE BOOK AT SQUATTERS

On Thursday, the BMC razed 1,410 tenements. Around 150 workers pulled down the structures using seven JCBs and 10 dumpers

Women from the slum blocked approach roads to the area and pelted the workers with stones

Police warned them, but the protesters refused to disperse. Eleven people were arrested for rioting and wrongful restraint

Even as the illegal homes were pulled down, Yashoda Yadav (35), who stayed in chawl 3, suffered a heart attack. A source claimed she watched the houses of her neighbours being destroyed, Yadav knew that hers was next in line and she could not bear the shock

Yadav was taken to Bhagwati Hospital where she was declared dead on arrival

 

WIN FOR CAMPAIGNERS

In 2010, the chairperson of New Link Road Residents Forum, Harischandra Pandey, along with other residents filed a PIL against the illegal constructions that had encroached on mangrove land in Ganpat Nagar

Pandey said they got two high court orders that no “non-forest activity” harmful to the environment should be carried out

In 2010, an effort was also made to implement a slum rehabilitation scheme in the area. However, residents opposed the move


Large tracts of mangroves faced destruction with around 8,000 unauthorized shanties that have mushroomed on the coastal regulation zone-I land in Dahisar

Source : TOI

Inquiry against six bldrs in SRA scheme

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Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has ordered a probe against six developers after social worker Medha Patkar alleged that they were involved in illegal activities while executing projects under the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) scheme. The CM has also decided to overhaul the scheme, which is often alleged to be steeped in irregularities.

During a meeting last week, Patkar had told Chavan and home minister R R Patil that the six developers had produced misleading information on beneficiaries of the slum rehabilitation scheme. The CM promised her a thorough probe into the allegations and accordingly, principal secretary (housing) Debashish Chakrabarty on Friday wrote to her saying he would conduct an inquiry against Shivalik (Khar), Satra (Ghatkopar), Saiwala (Jogeshwari), Sumer (Chandivli), Shahana (Sion) and Samarth (Mulund) developers. “Once we receive a specific complaint from Patkar, we will conduct the probe within a month. We will decide on the next course of action after the inquiry,” Chakrabrarty told TOI.

A senior Congress minister said following Patkar’s allegation, Chavan also planned to modify the conditions for the scheme. “The government has received several complaints against developers involved in the SRA scheme. The most common charge is that the builders have fabricated the list of beneficiaries. In fact, the entire list of bogus beneficiaries of one project has been submitted to Chavan,” he said. “In
the backdrop of such irregularities, it is felt that instead of making it developer-driven, the scheme should involve slumdwellers more.”

On the new guidelines, the Congress minister said during Chavan’s interaction with social workers, it was proposed that slumdwellers should have the final say in the projects and under no circumstances, a developer should be offered an opportunity to hijack the scheme.

“More often than not, shanty dwellers are left high and dry, while developers benefit; even small-time contractors have become leading builders,” he said. Further elaborating on the proposal, the minister said once slumdwellers agreed to be relocated, the SRA should first float tenders for the construction of tenements and then for the auction of the vacated land. “Either Mhada or a private entrepreneur will build homes for the slumdwellers. Following the rehabilitation, tenders will also be floated for the auction of the land that have been vacated by the slumdwellers; the money will be used to meet the cost of construction of tenements,” he said. The minister said the proposal would be placed before Chavan and later the cabinet for approval. “The CM is keen on a completely transparent plan.”

Alarmed by the mushrooming of slums in the city, the late Shiv Sena leader, Bal Thackeray, had launched a plan to provide free tenements to the poor. A special purpose vehicle was also set up to make Mumbai slumfree within a time frame. “It was Thackeray’s dream project but the scheme failed to be implemented owing to the lack of political will,” a senior Sena leader said.

Source : TOI

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