The ambitious Slum Rehabilitation Scheme, conceptualised to clear the city of slums, continues to totter, and in the last five months only five projects have been approved.
The reason: both the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) are delaying the issuing of No Objection Certificates (NOC) to slums on their land.
“More than 60 per cent of the slums are located in MHADA and BMC land, and the process is almost stalled here. The only proposals we get are from private landlords or some government bodies,” said a senior Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) officer, on the condition of anonymity.
Formed in 1996, the SRA has a poor track record, with just 24 per cent of the sanctioned projects reaching conclusion. Just 597 of the total 2,395 schemes have been executed and 1.54 lakh slum dwellers shifted. Another 3 lakh houses are under construction.
Builders blame authorities for the problem, saying they are tired of the red tapism. “Getting consent is a very difficult task. Even after that, approvals are hard to get. So builders shy away from undertaking slum revamps,” said Manohar Shroff, managing director, Shivam Builders Private Limited.
Housing activists want the state government to speed up the process. “The state should direct all agencies to grant NOCs if the rules have been followed and any delay should attract penal action,” said social activist Anil Mishra. “Delays only cause inconvenience to slum dwellers and hurt the goal of a slum free city.”