Developers hoping to get relief from Urban Land Ceiling Act restrictions from the state government will have to wait. The state government has sought legal opinion from the advocate general on the request made by seeking exemptions from ULC approvals since the law was repealed.
Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI), body of real estate developers, had sought exemptions from seeking no-objection certificates from the state government while constructing on former ULC land, since the law had been repealed.
MCHI had complained that this led to unnecessary delays.
However, sources in the state government said that developers were keen on changing land use from industrial to residential and this could be problematic in a court of law.
The Urban Land Ceiling Act was repealed in 2007 but certain exemptions were given to private owners and developers, primarily to set up industrial units in vast swathes of land in Thane, Kalyan, Ulhasnagar.
With the ULC repealed, many of these developers would prefer converting this land for residential use.
“The court has clearly taken a view that when the government made the exemption, it was in public interest. This cannot be bypassed for private profiteering,” said a senior official.
The issue was discussed at a review meeting of the government with MCHI representatives. The meeting was chaired by chief secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad.
MCHI had also made a slew of demands ranging from complaints against the environment appraisal committee set up by the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) and the high-rise committee.
“We keep flagging this concerns and the government’s response is terribly slow. How can we create affordable housing in this context? Developers cannot put affordable houses in the market because our projects are stuck in red-tape. We are paying huge interest, that makes any reduction in cost unviable,” said Paras Gundecha, president of MCHI.
Gundecha said he was disappointed with the state government’s snail pace in clearing pending decisions like joint ventures with MHADA, cluster redevelopment, single window clearance, etc.