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Cluster revamp auction not practical, say builders

The state government’s plan to auction cluster redevelopment rights has met with a lukewarm response from the realty industry, which termed it ‘impractical’.

mumbai Updated: Apr 19, 2011 02:07 IST
HT Correspondent

The state government’s plan to auction cluster redevelopment rights has met with a lukewarm response from the realty industry, which termed it ‘impractical’.

They contend that private landlords own more than 90% of the buildings in the city and will not readily part with it. “How can the state government auction something that is not theirs,” said Sunil Mantri, president, Maharashtra Chambers of Housing Industry. “There will be litigation and the whole cluster process will fall apart,” said Mayank Gandhi, secretary, Remaking of Mumbai Federation, whose proposal for the cluster development of Chira Bazaar area was passed by the civic body recently.

The cluster redevelopment scheme, which envisages a holistic revamp of the place of a minimum of one acre, was flagged off in 2009. However, just one cluster scheme at Lalbaug has been started till date. The scheme is dogged by the high-handedness of developers in getting the consent of tenants and also several delays.

Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan who is bent upon breaking the builder-politician-bureaucrat nexus has asked the state administration to work out a plan under which cluster development rights can be auctioned to the developer by the government instead of developers getting consent from residents. This change is aimed at rooting out two key problems in the scheme – irregularities by builders and delays in implementation. He has also planned similar auctioning of redevelopment rights from slum projects. “Land is a public resource so a part of the profit from redevelopment should come to the state,” Chavan said.

Developers contend that the need of the hour is to fast-track the present scheme instead of devising new plans. “Despite undertaking redevelopment of such a large portion of land and rehabilitating more tenants, there are hardly any concessions compared to other schemes,” said Kailash Agarwal, chairman, Nish Developers.

According to Vilas Avachat, former president, Indian Institute of Architects, the time has come for action. “Cluster is the only way for planned development and the state should take a lead by easing consent conditions from tenants and landlords,” Avachat said.