A Union Government decision granting Mumbai ‘special status’ under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules, due on Saturday, could change the city’s skyline.
The Hindustan Times had, on December 27, reported that the announcement was due. Under the old rules, no development was allowed in the most sensitive coastal zones. However, with special status, development will be allowed along Mumbai’s 45-km coastline.
This means 16,000 dilapidated buildings and slums in high-density pockets of south and central Mumbai could make way for towers and well-planned residential zones.
The koliwadas, fishing villages on sensitive coastal belts, can also be redeveloped. Open spaces will be given protection and declared no-development zones.
Union minister for environment and forests Jairam Ramesh is scheduled to make the announcement on Saturday along with chief minister Prithviraj Chavan.
“The new rules will make an exception for dilapidated buildings and slums that fall under environmentally-sensitive zones, giving a push to long-pending redevelopment projects,” said minister of state for housing Sachin Ahir.
The new rules will also allow cluster development projects in Girgaum, Worli Koliwada, Lamington Road, Chira Bazaar, Mazgaon and Vikhroli.
The cluster approach involves the development of a neighbourhood with a simultaneous boost to infrastructure like roads, water supply, open areas and parking.
Developers welcomed the decision. “Pending projects, especially cluster development, will get a boost. Integrated development must be pushed,” said Mayank Gandhi, a promoter of the Remaking of Mumbai Federation, which presented a Rs. 12,000-crore proposal to redevelop C Ward in south Mumbai.
About 136 slum areas exist within 500 metres of the coast, which are eligible for rehabilitation. The state will hold a 51% stake in the projects that could be implemented through joint ventures or public-private partnerships.