Although the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation plans to create a huge stock of affordable houses by opening up non-development zones (NDZ) plots, it is unlikely to happen. Reason: the city does not have much NDZ land which can be developed.
Of the 13,000 hectares classified as NDZs, a little more than 10,000 hectares are natural areas, where development activity is restricted, while the rest can be developed. Implementation of the development schemes mentioned in the revised draft development plan (DP), even on the limited 3,000 hectares — a majority of which has been encroached — will need various approvals, which will take time.
According to the analysis by Knight Frank, a real estate consultancy firm, it is difficult to generate such a huge stock on this land parcel. “The potential to generate affordable homes is limited, unless the government steps in and irons out the problems,” said Samantak Das, chief economist, director-research & advisory services, Knight Frank India Ltd.
To develop the NDZs, the proposed DP recommends allocating 25% of the land for open spaces, 8% as institutional areas, 25% for affordable housing, 4% for educational purposes, 3% for medical purposes and 1% for social purposes. This means, the owner will be able to use the remaining 34% of the land, but that, too, may be encroached upon. “This will not give the landowner any incentive to pledge his land for development under this scheme,” said Das.
Builders claim opening up of NDZs was much-needed. “The DP will help create amenities on the encroached NDZ plots. We may even see correction of prices if more houses come in the market,” said Bhavesh Sanghrajka, chairman and MD, Shraddha Lifescapes.