In a move that will act as a respite to home buyers from the low income group after being duped by developers, the state has decided that it would exempt residents from paying penalty for living in structures that do not have occupancy certificates.
This means that people residing in illegal structures measuring up to 600 square feet, across the state, will not have to the pay annual penalty.
The state will have to make an amendment in the Mumbai Municipal Corporation and Maharashtra Municipal Corporation to implement the decision. This comes in a year after the Bombay high court rejected the government’s policy for regularising illegal structures.
According to sources, the government has also decided to empower municipal corporations to decide the penalty amount for occupants residing in illegal structures above the area of 1,000 square feet. In January, the state had promulgated an ordinance for the decision which now will be converted in to the legislation in this assembly session.
The bill to convert the ordinance in to an Act will also have the provisions to exempt low income groups from paying penalty for residing in illegal structures, claimed the sources.
Confirming the development, Manisha Mhaiskar, principal secretary of the urban development department said that the government wants to help the people — especially those who come under lower income groups — who were duped by developers.
“For home buyers who fall under the lower income groups, it is first a shock that their homes are not legal, the penalty acts as a double burden for them every year until they get an occupancy certificate from the civic body. Hence, it was decided to penalise people according to the size of the illegal structures that the live in,” Mhaiskar told HT.
Considering that those living in structures bigger than 1000 square feet homes are financially sound, the government decided not to reduce their penalty amount, she added.
Ramesh Prabhu, housing activist and chairman for Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association (MSWA) has welcomed the move. “It’s a welcome development for the people who have already lost everything after being duped by builders,” Prabhu said.