MHADA residents allege builders not living up to promise of bigger houses
That’s the Maharashtra Housing Area Development Authority’s (MHADA) score on redevelopment. Due to large-scale opposition by residents living in MHADA colonies — unhappy at the size of their proposed homes — redevelopment has started only in one colony out of the 30 cleared for redevelopment.
“Work has only started in Subash Nagar (Chembur) where all the buildings formed a federation,” said IS Chahal, chief executive officer and vice president of MHADA. The project is being redeveloped by RNA Builders.
“Builders usually promise bigger flats up to 500 square feet but later cite rules and bring it down to 330 square feet. This causes a lot of opposition,” said Manohar Samant who heads the Federation of Tenants.
He alleged MHADA officials sold the Floor Space Index (FSI) to developers before the stipulated period instead of first offering it to the colonies —this caused a lot of friction between societies and builders.
In Goregaon’s Siddharth Nagar, for instance, the agreement says residents would be entitled to larger flats. “We want the government to change this rule so we are entitled to bigger houses,” said a resident.
Other cases where permission has been granted but work has not begun include Sundernagar, Chakkikhana and Chaitanya Nagar (Santacruz), Khernagar, Ghandinagar, Bharat Nagar and Vijaynagar (Bandra), Unnatnagar, Chittranjan Nagar and Pant Nagar (Ghatkoopar), Mahavir Nagar (Kandivli), Kannamvar Nagar and Tagore Nagar, (Vikhroli), Nehru Nagar (Kurla), Tilaknagar, Azad Nagar and Sahakar Nagar (Chembur), Rajendra Nagar (Borilvi) and Motilal Nagar (Goregaon) among others.
“The chief minister is planning a change the policy whereby the ceiling for low-income units will be increased to 45 square metres (about 460 square feet). This will help in kicking off redevelopment work and is awaiting approval of the state cabinet,” said Chahal.
According to the existing policy, the government grants 1.2 FSI, which is 20 per cent more than the admissible FSI of 1, to MHADA colonies where at least 60 per cent of the tenements are for lower income groups. The developer is allowed to use TDR on such constructions.
Normally, developers obtain approval from tenants and get additional FSI for reconstruction. The tenants are shifted elsewhere and paid Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 as rent till their own buildings are reconstructed. The developer is required to provide 330 sq ft flats to tenants and may use the remaining space commercially. Usually, two or three-storied old buildings are reconstructed to seven-storied buildings.
The government in now mulling changing the policy by removing the ceiling of 330 sq ft (on units for tenants in the reconstructed building), provide uniform FSI to all such buildings, make it mandatory to use FSI meant for lower income group for the same group and not for higher income groups, formulate revised FSI norms and remove the condition of first-come first-serve to provide uniformity, a MHADA official told Hindustan Times, on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
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