Coastal authority to expedite backlog of CRZ clearances

Published on May 29, 2022 09:09 PM IST
Led by its vice president Domnic Romell, a delegation of CREDAI-MCHI representatives recently met Manisha Patankar-Mhaiskar, principal secretary (environment), the government of Maharashtra, and member of the MCZMA, expressing concern over the growing backlog of CRZ requests
Mumbai, India - May 12, 2019: Ongoing coastal road work at Hajiali in Mumbai, India, on Sunday, May 12, 2019. (Photo by Pratik Chorge/Hindustan Times) (Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)
Mumbai, India - May 12, 2019: Ongoing coastal road work at Hajiali in Mumbai, India, on Sunday, May 12, 2019. (Photo by Pratik Chorge/Hindustan Times) (Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)
ByPrayag Arora-Desai

Mumbai: The Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) has planned a ‘marathon’ meeting over five weeks, between June 7 and July 4, to expedite a backlog of requests for coastal regulatory zone (CRZ) clearances. A total of 197 proposals, some of which have been awaiting consideration for more than six months, will be taken up by the authority. The majority of projects are new developments which have not been able to obtain commencement certificates from respective municipalities and urban local bodies, for lack of CRZ clearance.

The Brihanmumbai Developers Association, an umbrella body, representing various builders in the city, had last week served the MCZMA with a legal notice for failure to take up 65 redevelopment proposals after December 2021, when the MCZMA was reconstituted by the union environment ministry. The apex body for realtors in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, CREDAI-MCHI, has also taken up the issue of pending CRZ clearances with the government.

Led by its vice president Domnic Romell, a delegation of CREDAI-MCHI representatives recently met Manisha Patankar-Mhaiskar, principal secretary (environment), the government of Maharashtra, and member of the MCZMA, expressing concern over the growing backlog of CRZ requests. Without obtaining MCZMA clearance, a CREDAI spokesperson explained, projects have been unable to obtain commencement certificates from their respective urban local bodies, which have held up construction work. “This increases scepticism among investors and buyers, and makes developers more prone to financial liabilities,” the spokesperson said to HT.

Of the 197 proposals for CRZ clearance which have been placed before the MCZMA, 96 are from Mumbai and about 30 from Navi Mumbai. At least 23 proposals are for the redevelopment of older properties. As per the new CRZ rules of the union environment ministry, restrictions on development in creek and bay-facing areas have been reduced from 100 metres to 50 metres from the high-tide line, opening up several land parcels for development.

The union environment ministry last year also gave its nod to the updated Coastal Zone Management Plan (CMZP) for Mumbai city and suburbs, opening up an estimated 10,000 old buildings for redevelopment. This was earlier impossible due to the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) restrictions, as any project within 500 metres of the high-tide line and 150 metres from the bay was allowed a base floor space index (FSI) of 1.33 in the island city and 1 in the Mumbai suburbs.

With the easing of this norm, the city will witness multiple skyscrapers facing the sea as builders will get almost two and half times the developmental rights on such plots. The builders will get a minimum FSI of 2.50. The move is expected to lead to a spurt in vertical growth along Mumbai’s coastline, virtually changing its skyline.

Narendra Toke, the chairperson, MCZMA, said, “The MCZMA’s usual term expired in the middle of 2021, and it took some time for the Centre to reinstate the committee. There have been some administrative delays in processing CRZ requests, but we are now making a concerted effort to clear all pending proposals. There are five meetings planned especially for this purpose, and the agenda for the meeting is available on the MCZMA website for anyone who wishes to check if their proposal is being considered.”

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