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Rera to boost redevelopment, slum rehab schemes

MUMBAI: In a major relief for thousands of citizens battling stalled redevelopmentprojects, the Maharashtra government will soon bring redevelopment projects by Mhada and slumrehabilitation (SRA) schemes under the purview of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (Rera).
“We will soon be taking this decision and issuing a notification,” housing minister Prakash Mehta announced in the state assembly on Monday. This means that slum-dwellers and tenants of old Mhada colonies will have the protection of timelines for the completion of redevelopment projects. The city has 105 Mhada residential colonies accommodating around 1.2 million people.

As per the 2011 census, 41% of Mumbai lives in slums. Also, 85% of all constructions in the city involve redevelopment.

Both Mhada redevelopment and SRA projects have a rehabilitation component and a free sale component. A developer has to accommodate existing tenants in a rehabilitation building free of cost and is compensated by being allowed to build apartments for sale in the market.

Currently, if the rehabilitation component and free sale component are in different phases, only then is the developer of the free sale component expected to register under Rera. This is not compulsory for the rehabilitation building. The government notification will also make it compulsory to register the rehabilitation construction under Rera. Currently though, projects which combine the rehabilitation and free sale components in the same phase have been registering under Rera.

More importantly, this will apply not only to new projects, but also ongoing projects, a senior official said.

But senior officials say this step may not help settle disputes over non-payment of rent to tenants while redevelopment is underway. “The Act protects homebuyers. The rent issue is a civil dispute,” a senior official said.

Consumer groups like the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (MGP) have welcomed the government’s move. “This will go a long way in protecting those in rehabilitation structures. Perhaps the government should go a step further and extend protection to tenants of private buildings undergoing redevelopment,” said Shirish Deshpande of MGP.

“It’s important that this be done with retrospective effect. Otherwise developers will predate their agreements and escape the law,” said housing rights activist Chandrashekhar Prabhu.

Mehta also told the assembly that a committee would soon meet to consider the issue of lowering consent for the redevelopment of Mhada’s cessed buildings. A committee of eight MLAs is considering lowering consent from 70% to 51% of residents. Mehta said the state government undertaking Shivshahi Punarvasan Prakalp Ltd (SPPL) would consider offering financial help to developers who ran out of money while trying to complete projects.

On the long delays in issuing Annexure II, which gives the list of slum-dwellers to benefit from slum projects, minister of state for housing Ravindra Waikar said the document would be issued within 90 days of application.

The state assembly was discussing redevelopment schemes in Sion Koliwada. Waikar said there were 126 slum schemes in the region, of which only five had been completed. He said a meeting would be called on the issue with stakeholders to discuss the progress of the schemes.

 

Published On:  Mar 20, 2018, 03:35 IST

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