Lakhs of illegal structures in Mumbai and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region could soon be regularised for a charge.
The state Assembly on Saturday cleared an amendment to the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning (MRTP) Act to allow the government to levy a premium or a compounding fee on residents and owners of unauthorised structures built before December 2015.
On paying this premium, the building will be tagged a “compounded structure”, and will be saved from any further action, including demolition.
The bill was cleared by the Assembly, and will now have to be passed by the legislative Council to become a law. Once cleared, the amendment will bring relief to lakhs of citizens in such buildings in Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, as well as in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad.
“The state government will decide the compounding charges and the terms and conditions for such a regularisation on a case by case basis, after a planning agency or the municipal corporation brings the matter to its notice. The penalty may vary, depending on the extent of the illegality,” said a senior official.
The amendment also makes way for provisions to control unauthorised developments by giving power to the planning authority or the municipal corporation to give a notice of just 24 hours to owners before demolishing illegal additions to their buildings.
The amendment was moved by the urban development department headed by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis after the Bombay high court, in an order issued in a public interest litigation, did not allow the state to implement a policy to this effect. The court had said the policy would go against the provisions of the MRTP Act and the existing development control regulations (DCR), which provide for regularisation of such structures.
“The state government is satisfied that it is expedient to make suitable amendments to the MRTP Act, For removing the basis on which the high court declined to grant leave to implement the policy,’’ the bill states. The amendment is now in conformity with existing DCR and will allow for implementation of the policy.
The policy was drafted on the basis of a report by former municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte that suggested recommendations on how to deal with unauthorised structures in urban areas falling in big cities. The report had recommended regularising 70% of such structures, besides suggesting legal and administrative reforms to curb illegal construction.