The state government’s decision to appoint the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) as the nodal agency for housing projects along the city’s coast will benefit residents of dilapidated buildings and slums.
Lakhs of residents of old buildings, who could not undertake redevelopment due to stringent Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules, can now move into new bigger homes.
CRZ regulations prohibit construction within 500 metres from the coastline and 38 per cent of land in the city comes under this belt.
“Most of the old buildings are held by private landlords and they will have to tie up with Mhada for redevelopment,” Minister of State for Housing Sachin Ahir told Hindustan Times. “The same model will be followed for slum rehabilitation schemes in areas under CRZ.”
Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh in his interview to Hindustan Times in March had said that he was not averse to relaxing CRZ norms if the state undertakes redevelopment.
The pre-draft on CRZ by the Ministry of Environment and Forests has allowed redevelopment of buildings within CRZ areas as long as it involves public financing. This was discussed during Chief Minister Ashok Chavan’s meeting with officials of the ministry in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Private developers will now have to enter into a joint venture with Mhada for redeveloping old buildings or slums governed by coastal zone restrictions.
Mhada, however, will not make any investment in these projects.
The state has instructed Mhada to undertake a survey of these buildings and slums and identify the ‘most vital’ projects.
Ahir said the move will also generate a significant stock of affordable housing and citizens will be able to get sea-facing apartments for around Rs 4,000 a sq ft.
Environmentalists, however, accused the state of being obsessed with relaxing CRZ norms.
“CRZ is needed because we are seeing climate change and there is absolutely no infrastructure to support these new constructions,” said environmentalist Debi Goenka, who has opposed any change in the current rules.