Relaxing Coastal Regulations Zone (CRZ) norms for Mumbai will benefit people who are unable to buy houses in the realty market where prices have reached unaffordable levels.
The new CRZ rules for 2011 came into effect on Friday.
According to the state government, a stock of approximately one lakh low-cost houses will be made available in the next few years as the new rules say private builders will have to partner with the state while redeveloping structures along coastal areas.
“We do not require any money from builders but we will insist our share in the form of readymade houses,” said Sachin Ahir, minister for housing.
The low-cost flats will be handed over to the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), which will sell them under its lottery system.
Real estate experts said this could be a boon for home buyers. “It has the potential to change the entire pricing dynamics of the market. Builders will be forced to reduce prices,” said Aditya Bansal, vice president, Liasas Foras, a real estate research firm. “The prices in the current market are so high, that affordable houses are now available only in far-flung places such as Palghar and Boisar.”
The state has also decided to expedite permissions for these projects. “Since we hold the majority stake [51%], we are looking to make things move faster,” said state housing secretary, Gautam Chatterjee.
At least 46% or 206 sq km of land in the city is under CRZ and revamp has been held up due to stringent rules, which have now been eased.
Until now, builders were wary of undertaking any redevelopment projects in the CRZ because the floor space index (FSI) was restricted between 1.25 and 1.66, making the project unviable. Under the new rules, the FSI has been increased to 2.5.
This concession will benefit 620 old buildings and also huge tracts of MHADA colonies in places such as Worli, Versova, Mahim, Andheri and Vikhroli.
Buyers are also delighted with this development. “Getting a sea-facing flat is a dream for any Mumbaiite and I would grab it if it is within my budget,” said Sunil Parmar, a resident of Parel.
Fisherfolk unhappy with CRZ rules
The fisherfolk and the original inhabitants of the city are not happy with the new Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) rules.
They alleged the builder community, and not the traditional beneficiaries, will benefit from the new rules. “Builders have get larger gain,” said Rambhau Patil, general secretary, National Fisherworkers’ Forum.
As announced by Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh, CRZ notifications 2011 permits redevelopment beyond 100m from the shore, which earlier was restricted beyond 200m. Around 38 koliwadas will qualify under this.
Fisherfolks say the builder lobby can misuse the term ‘redevelopment’. They say that low Floor Space Index (FSI) in koliwadas leave little scope for the redevelopment. They demanded an exceptional increase in FSI for koliwadas as they have been living on the coasts for years.
“With the existing FSI norms, we will not be able to expand our houses,” Patil added.
The fisherfolk have also raised queries on slums that will be redeveloped near the coast. The new rules call for redevelopment of slum clusters through public-private partnerships where the government will have a 51% stake in the projects.
“In our meetings with Ramesh before the notification, we were assured that there would not be any private involvement of builders in the redevelopment of slums near our areas. However, the rules show otherwise,” said Suresh Bhoir, vice-president, Maharashtra Machhimar Fish Trade Union. Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackarey in a press conference at Girgaum expressed concerns about the effect of new CRZ rules on fishermen. “We are with the fishermen and we will make sure that all the fishermen get good homes. Even koliwadas should be developed,” he said.