Maharashtra issues draft rules to regularise illegal constructions

Updated on Jul 22, 2017 12:37 AM IST

The department has invited suggestions and objections on the rules by the end of the month

Lakhs of illegal structures or unauthorised buildings, largely residential ones including those like the controversial Campa Cola compound in Worli, now stand to benefit from this policy.
Lakhs of illegal structures or unauthorised buildings, largely residential ones including those like the controversial Campa Cola compound in Worli, now stand to benefit from this policy.
Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Maharashtra government has set the ball rolling to regularise lakhs of unauthorised buildings and structures in cities across the state, including the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, on the payment of a compounding fee.

The state urban development department, which chief minister Devendra Fadnavis heads, on Friday issued draft rules to regularise unauthorised construction till December 31, 2015. The department has invited suggestions and objections on the rules in a month.

Lakhs of illegal structures or unauthorised buildings, largely residential ones including those like the controversial Campa Cola compound in Worli, now stand to benefit from this policy.

A senior urban development official said, “We have formulated the rules mainly keeping residential structures in mind. Within six months of the rules coming into force, planning authorities will have to invite applications from owners and occupiers for consideration of cases for regularisation. The local authority will specify the time and date for the submission of such cases, after which applications will not be considered. The authority will then take a call on the cases as per the rules.”

The official said even a case like the controversial Campa Cola compound in Worli stands to benefit if they have purchased the required Floor Space Index (FSI). FSI refers to the ratio of the built-up area to the plot area and indicates the permissible construction limit. The seven buildings in the Campa Cola compound have 35 floors more than what was approved by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), prompting the civic body to send a demolition notice leading to a long protracted legal battle.

To pave the way for the regularisation of such structures, the state government passed a bill to amend the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act in the budget session of the legislature in April this year. The move will bring relief to lakhs of citizens in such buildings in places such as Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Navi Mumbai and Pimpri Chinchwad. However, it is also likely to set a precedent and open the decks for further condoning of illegal construction in the future.

According to the draft rules, the state’s policy will apply to most cases of unauthorised construction, except for structures in ecologically sensitive zones, Coastal Regulation Zones, land meant for playgrounds or parks, heritage buildings and structurally unsafe buildings, among others.

For cases of FSI violations, such as Campa Cola, the draft rules state such construction can be considered for regularisation by procuring premium or fungible FSI, or Transfer of Development Rights, as per applicable norms. Owners or occupants of such structures will have to pay compounding charges at 10 percent of land rate over and above the premium for the extra FSI.

Similarly, the draft rules will also allow regularising construction where the structure is taller than the maximum height allowed as per the width of the road it abuts. While local authorities will have to explore the option of road widening in such cases, the state’s draft rules allow them to consider regularisation of the unauthorised construction by levying a compounding fee of 10 percent of the ready reckoner rates.

The draft rules also provide for compounding fees for regularisation in case of inadequate setback area, violations in ground coverage, parking, staircase, passage width and misuse of any such free of FSI components. Moreover, building owner or occupants will need to procure the required no-objection certificates from departments such as drainage, water supply, fire, structural stability certificates and so on before regularisation.

Once a civic body declares a structure as a compounded structure for regularisation, no further development will be allowed on the plot besides regular maintenance and repairs or redevelopment as per norms.

The state government has instructed civic bodies to keep aside all the money collected as compounding fees under these rules for providing public amenities, utilities and services in the respective areas.

Read more:
Lakhs of illegal structures across Maharashtra to be regularised after penalties


    Manasi Phadke is a Special Correspondent with Hindustan Times. She covers politics and governance in Maharashtra with a special interest in urban development issues.

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