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Realty boom set to bite Mumbai

Courtesy HC, corridors along railway lines are set to be a lot congested, report Urvi Jappi and Madhurima Nandy.

india Updated: Nov 21, 2006 03:10 IST

The Bombay High Court on Monday cleared the decks for corridors along the western and central railway lines to become even more congested than they are now.

The stay on the use of transfer of development rights (TDR) in the corridor was lifted and the public interest litigation that challenged such 'loading' of TDR was dismissed.

The HC had in July 2004 ordered a stay on TDR on corridor land - the congested areas between Western Express Highway and the arterial Swami Vivekananda Road in the western suburbs and the Eastern Expressway and LBS Marg in the central suburbs - on a PIL filed by an NGO, the Jan Hit Manch.

The immediate beneficiaries of the order will include some of the city's largest builders - Nirmal Group's 'City of Joy' project on Eternit Everest land, Kalpataru's 'Aura' on Ghatkopar's British Oxygen land and Boman Irani's 'Keystone' project in Goregaon.

Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) sources said the judgment would release around 45 lakh sq ft of 'frozen' TDR. After development, this TDR would be worth around Rs 2,000 crore. BMC officials said so far 7.25 crore sq ft of TDR has been released in the city.

TDR is the development right generated from slum rehabilitation, road widening or other projects involving the surrender of private land. It is freely tradable and allows the buyer to 'load' or use it on a plot to the north of the source of the TDR.

With Mumbai's central corridors opening up, higher demand is expected to jack up TDR prices from the current average of Rs 1,850 per sq ft to Rs 2,500 in the coming weeks. Builders said the order will allow more housing stock to come into the market, but with the high TDR and construction cost, the corridors' realty will be available only in the high-end segment, ie, Rs 5,000 per sq ft and above.

While vacating the stay, the bench comprising Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice FI Rebello said only slums built up to January 1, 1995, were deemed eligible for rehabilitation instead of the state government proposal of January 1, 2000.

Jan Hit Manch had challenged the release of TDR, stating that its indiscriminate use was leading to haphazard urbanisation. Civic authorities were granting permission to use TDR without taking into consideration infrastructure in the area, claimed the PIL.

While dismissing the PIL, the bench directed the state and civic authorities to ensure development of infrastructure. The court also directed the BMC to set up a separate corpus from the premium collected from developers for relaxation of Development Control rules. The fund would be used to create and maintain playgrounds and other civic amenities.

The state government had taken the stand that in order to promote the slum rehabilitation scheme, it had decided to release TDR in corridor areas. The government also said it could not develop plots earmarked as open spaces in the development plan since most of them had been encroached upon by slums. By giving incentives to developers, slum dwellers would be relocated and the city would get its open spaces.

Bhagwanji Rayani, convenor of Jan Hit Manch, said from New Delhi that his organisation would "go through the order and then decide on filing an appeal in Supreme Court."

Email Urvi Jappi: urvi.jappi@hindustantimes.com

First Published: Nov 21, 2006 03:10 IST