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RTI query finds: Thane’s six sub-cluster plans await state approval

By Megha Pol, Thane
PUBLISHED ON JAN 30, 2020 12:49 AM IST

Although Thane Municipal Corporation plans to inaugurate the work on two of its sub-clusters next week, the cluster urban renewal plans (URPs) are still waiting approval from the state government.

This was revealed after a Right to Information (RTI) application was filed by former Congress corporator Sanjay Ghadigaonkar in December. The state in its reply to the application said TMC had submitted six URPs for approval, but have not got approval yet.

The town planning department has plans to lay the foundation stone for the project, stating that in-principle approval has been received for the two urban renewal schemes (URS) or sub-clusters in Kisannagar and Hajuri.

Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray is slated to inaugurate the work of two sub-clusters on February 6.

Ghadigaonkar said, “There is no provision in Maharashtra Regional Town Planning (MRTP) Act and the cluster development policy to start the work merely on in-principle approval, which is basically the approval of the civic commissioner. The clusters need to be approved by the state urban development department. In reply to an RTI query, the state has informed that none of the six URPs are approved, so how can TMC begin work?”

TMC had submitted URPs of first six clusters — Kopri, Rabodi, Lokmanya Nagar, Kisannagar, Hajuri and Tekadi Bungalow — to the state for approval last year.

The work of surveying beneficiaries and amenities in the six clusters is also in the final stage. Last year before the Assembly polls, the town planning department said the work on a sub-cluster in Kisannagar and another in Hajuri will begin soon.

An official from state urban development department confirmed that the URPs have not yet been approved.

The official said, “We had published the first notification of cluster on July 5, 2017, while a second notification asking for suggestions and objections was submitted in September 2019. Based on this notification, TMC submitted URPs of six clusters. They are still in process of seeking approval.”

TMC, however, claimed that they are merely developing a sub-cluster where people have themselves formed societies.

A TMC official said, “There are three kinds of URP — one which is demarcated based on the development plan of the city, second which is demarcated by the corporation and third which the residents have come forward to develop. The two sub-clusters come under the third category, wherein people have formed a society and are seeking permission to develop the cluster. Only the URP drafted by TMC needs permission.”

He said TMC is only building a road in Kisannagar sub-cluster.

“The floor space index (FSI) permissible in cluster is twice the FSI consumed or 4, whichever is more. In some clusters like Hajuri and Rabodi, FSI consumed is 1.5 so they can consume equal FSI for redevelopment. So the redevelopment is financially viable, as the rehabilitation component is equal to the sale component,” he said.

“However in Kisannagar, the consumed FSI is 2.7, thus the rehabilitation component is more than the saleable component. We will have to facilitate amenities such as wide roads to ensure the cluster becomes financially viable,” he added.

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