The easing of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms in the Khar Danda area is all set to spur the redevelopment activity there.
Builders who were reluctant to undertake revamp work will now be eager to do so, as there is a strong incentive for them in the wake of the National Coastal Zone Management Authority (NCZMA) recently reclassifying Khar Danda as a creek.
The NCZMA had then obtained the opinion of various agencies before it went to reclassify it. The CRZ normally restricts development within 500 metres of the high tide level of the sea, but this restriction is only 150 metres for creeks.
The latest decision means restrictions on construction activity on several plots will be eased. A number of real estate developers were trying to redevelop slums or old buildings in the Khar-Bandra belt -- one of the most sought after real estate areas in Mumbai.
“It is a great move as residents can now undertake redevelopment which was pending for years because of the CRZ law,” Paras Gundecha, President, Maharashtra Chambers of Housing Industry (MCHI), the apex body of the builders. “How can you exclude people just because they live close to the sea?” Gundecha asked.
According to Vibhoo Mehra, CEO, Mumbai Properties, this will result in increased supply of housing stock.
“Currently, there is hardly any stock in this Bandra-Khar belt, which has resulted in exorbitant realty rates. Increased supply will ease the rates,” said Mehra. He said that Khar Danda commanded Rs23,000- Rs 30,000 per square foot in the current market.
However, environmentalists are unhappy with the decision, saying this is like pandering to the builders' lobby.
“These builders have been involved in illegal activities such as destroying mangroves. This decision amounts to regularising their activities,” said Debi Goenka, a green activist.
“It is obvious that the decision was taken to benefit the builders' lobby at the cost of the environment,” said Goenka.