Taking note of Mumbai's recent realty scams, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has made public hearings mandatory for all redevelopment projects in the city’s coastal areas.
In an order issued on February 24, MoEF has informed the state government that all housing projects in coastal areas, which involve “group housing, slum redevelopment projects and cessed/dilapidated buildings redevelopment projects would require a prior public hearing of project-affected-people”.
Besides, all mega projects of more than 20,000 sq mt or 4.9 acre, falling within coastal areas, will also have to go through a public consultation process. This is the first time that redevelopment of buildings or slums will come under the scanner of public consultation (usually mega infrastructure projects come under this ambit).
Nearly 46% of Mumbai falls in the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) and this area was freed for redevelopment under the new CRZ notification issued by the Centre in January. About 146 slum clusters and more than 620 dilapidated buildings can be redeveloped under the new CRZ notification.
“The public hearings will bring in the badly needed transparency and accountability,” Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh told HT on Wednesday. He had earlier told HT that he was in favour of stringent norms, given the poor track record of city builders.