State green panel rejects mega housing projects near Mumbai | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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State green panel rejects mega housing projects near Mumbai

The state's ambitious plan to create five lakh affordable housing in the MMR is headed for trouble with the state environment panel nixing several sprawling rental and affordable housing projects.

mumbai Updated: Apr 24, 2012 01:35 IST
Ketaki Ghoghe

The state's ambitious plan to create five lakh affordable housing in the MMR is headed for trouble with the state environment panel nixing several sprawling rental and affordable housing projects.

The state's expert appraisal committee (SEAC), the first tier in granting environmental nod to big construction projects, in a meeting held this month, refused to approve two mega rental housing projects in Panvel. It also passed strictures against a third project being developed in Thane.

Earlier, the chairman of the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), the second tier or the final environment body, had asked the state to review this policy as it was creating vertical slums.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), which scripted the policy to allot 160 sq feet rental homes to urban poor has now termed it an affordable housing project and increased the size of the flats to 300 sq feet.

But, many of the core concerns like absence of basic infrastructure and density of flats in the affordable housing buildings, have not been addressed.

In the latest instance, the environment panel has rejected two projects by Diana Infrastructure Ltd and M/s Arihant Abode Ltd spread across 44 acres in Panvel. [see box].

The Diana Infrastructure Ltd project, planned over 28 acres, envisaged construction of 6,141 affordable flats. The project aimed at building 18 buildings with 3,130 flats for sale along with 11 rental or affordable housing buildings with 6,141 affordable flats.

The other proposal to be rejected was M/S Arihant Abode's project worth Rs 361 crore, which proposed construction of 25 buildings across 16 acres.

In case of the project named Auralis by Deep Homes and Construction Pvt Ltd, the panel recommended action against the project for demolishing existing structures without getting the green clearance. The panel has also demanded that the developers bring down the existing density of 2,250 tenements per hectare to 1,000 per hectare. Also, the height of the buildings should be reduced as per the Union government norms in absence of a mandatory fire station within a 2-km radius.

These projects can appeal against the order to the SEIAA. However, both authorities have gone slow on rental housing projects. Of the 38 projects cleared so far, only two have been granted a green clearance.