Green nod for CZMP may spur redevelopment activity near Mumbai coastline

The residents of Yuwan Apartments Cooperative Housing Society, Bandra will now get double the area than which they are currently residing as the Union environment ministry last week gave a green light to the much-awaited Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) for Mumbai city and suburbs.
The residents of Yuwan Apartments Cooperative Housing Society, Bandra will now get double the area than which they are currently residing as the Union environment ministry last week gave a green light to the much-awaited Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) for Mumbai city and suburbs.
The residents of Yuwan Apartments Cooperative Housing Society, Bandra will now get double the area than which they are currently residing as the Union environment ministry last week gave a green light to the much-awaited Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) for Mumbai city and suburbs.
Updated on Oct 10, 2021 11:33 PM IST
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By, Mumbai

The residents of Yuwan Apartments Cooperative Housing Society, Bandra will now get double the area than which they are currently residing as the Union environment ministry last week gave a green signal to the much-awaited Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) for Mumbai city and suburbs.

“All of 136 residents of our complex will get double the area than which they are residing, and we will generate a corpus of 100 crore,” said Akbar Jiwani, a resident and legal advisor of revamp scheme. “Those in one BHK (bedroom hall and kitchen) will get a free two BHK, while those currently residing in two BHK will shift to four BHK in the plush Bandra area,” he added.

The revamp 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 were allowed a base floor space index (FSI) of 1.33 in the island city and 1 in the Mumbai suburbs.

However, now 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.

Liases Foras, a real estate research firm estimates that around 10,000 such old buildings, as well as 0.2 million slums, will benefit from this largesse.

Niranjan Hiranandani, founder of the Hiranandani Group, who has constructed large townships in Powai and Thane, said this has been a long-standing demand. “This will open up land parcels for redevelopment and spur up the revamp of old buildings and slums. These new rules will make the projects viable,” said Hiranandani.

Kumar Padyar, 42, who has spent his entire life in the sprawling Madraswadi slum that houses 2,100 families, opposite Worli sea face, now hopes this move will facilitate the redevelopment of the slum. The residents live in tiny shanties of 64-180 square feet and comprise poor class labourers doing menial jobs.

“Our condition is so bad that we have to line up for more than one hour outside the toilets in the morning,” Padyar said. The slum has just six toilets for 350 families. “We have suffered enough in such conditions and want our children to live a decent life. The house should be well contained with personal toilets for the families. We hope that at least now the builders will take interest in our slum,” said Padyar,, who is also the managing committee member in this slum.

The CRZ regulation first came into force in 1991 to monitor the activities along the coastal stretch. This created a lot of hurdles in the revamp. In December 2018, the Central government separated FSI from CRZ rules through a CRZ notification, 2019. However, not much activity was undertaken after that as the Central government linked this notification with the finalisation of CZMP maps. This was finally approved last week.

Various places like Cuffe Parade, Bandra, Khar, Malad, Gorai, Worli have multiple slum pockets which will be benefitted from the easing of norms. Similarly, the Queen’s Necklace housing the area of Marine Drive-Malabar Hill area is dotted with hundreds of such old buildings. Similar is the stretch in the Western suburbs from Bandra to Dahisar.

CY Corp, a leading architectural firm, which is handling 15 projects in the CRZ area said, “These are areas which are already developed and we have people living there. These people are living in dangerous buildings and should get the benefit of the redevelopment as others. We have seen such bay being developed in advanced countries like America and Australia where construction rules are very stringent,” said Milind Changani of CY Corp who is also the sub-committee member, Maharashtra Chambers of Housing Industry (MCHI) redevelopment committee. “The new rules have made it mandatory that disaster management and environmental assessment be done in such projects which is the best move,” he added.

Another major beneficiary of this move will be the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) which has been appointed as the special planning authority (SPA) for beautifying 966.30 hectares along the city’s 28-km eastern waterfront. The plan has also proposed public parks, plazas, promenades, walking trails and marinas apart from restaurants and cafes. “We are still to study the new order,” said Rajiv Jalota, chairman, MbPT. The MbPT area extends from Sassoon Docks to Wadala.

Pankaj Kapoor, managing director, Liases Foras, said that this move will facilitate large scale construction activity. “We will see a large supply of housing stock coming up in the market. This will soften the prices too,” said Kapoor. “However we will also see the sea-facing apartments being sold at a premium, since citizens have a fascination for such apartments,” he added.

However, the environmentalists are unhappy with the decision. “Our municipal commissioner says by 2050 major parts of south Mumbai will go underwater due to rising sea levels and here we are allowing unrestricted development near the seafront. The 1989 CRZ draft is very clear that areas vulnerable to flooding because of sea-level rise should be kept free from all developmental activities and today we are doing exactly the opposite,” said environmentalist Debi Goenka. “This is nothing but a goldmine for the builders,” he added. Goenka called this disaster management and environmental assessment an eyewash. “Such studies and assessments are made to suit the needs of the builders,” he added.

Maharashtra housing minister Jitendra Awhad said the government will maintain a balance between housing and the environment. “All environmental concerns will be addressed while undertaking the redevelopment near the CRZ areas,” said Awhad.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Naresh is a Special Correspondent with Hindustan Times, Mumbai, since 2005. He covers the real estate sector, in addition to doing political reportage.

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