If your home is built on forest land and was in danger of being demolished, here’s some relief for you.
A Central Empowered Committee has submitted its recommendations to the Supreme Court. It has sought regularisation of land after paying a one-time nominal afforestation fee. The order will bring relief to residents of Thane, Mulund, Borivli and Kandivli, which faced a demolition threat after the Bombay High Court had, in March 2008, deemed their flats illegal as they were built on forest land.
Affected residents then took the matter to the apex court, which had told the committee to give its recommendations. Now, the committee has recommended that all flats built before June 2005 be regularised after paying the fee as stipulated in the Maharashtra Private Forest Acquisition Act.
Owners will have to prove that their flats were completely built before June 2005. The fee is likely to be Rs 8-10 per sq ft.
The committee’s report given to the Supreme Court on Monday has detailed the procedure to establish the legality of a building and its occupants.
The recommendations are not binding; the court will give its verdict by July-end. Besides, it is recommended that building plans approved before June 2005 and construction was on, be regularised. The afforestation fee in such cases is five times more than the pre-June 2005 flats. For buildings plans approved after June 2005, the fee will be 10 times more.
“If accepted, at least 10 lakh homes in Mumbai and Thane will get all legal rights,” a committee member said on condition of anonymity. “At this belated stage, it is neither feasible nor in public interest to demolish the existing structures, to relocate occupants and physically convert such an area into a forest,” the committee said.
The committee has recommended that 1,750 acres of mangroves in Godrej & Boyce’s possession be transferred to a public trust for maintaining it as a green lung of Mumbai.