New Maharashtra policy to boost redevelopment of nearly 640 dilapidated buildings

Developers taking up the redevelopment of dilapidated buildings across the city will now get an incentive Floor Space Index (FSI) of 50 percent over and above that required to rehabilitate existing tenants.

mumbai Updated: Sep 12, 2017 16:02 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Maharashtra policy,Floor Space Index,BMC
The caveat for the redevelopment is that at least 70 percent tenants should have given their consent for the project.(HT File)

Residents of nearly 640 old, creaky buildings which are unsafe for habitation across the city will benefit because of a new state policy to encourage the redevelopment of such structures, incentivising developers as well as tenants.

The BJP-led state government unveiled a draft of this policy in January before the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) election. After hearing suggestions and objections, the government issued a final notification for the policy on September 8 soon after the collapse of one such decrepit building in Bhendi Bazaar in which more than 30 people lost their lives.

Developers taking up the redevelopment of dilapidated buildings across the city will now get an incentive Floor Space Index (FSI) of 50 percent over and above that required to rehabilitate existing tenants. FSI is the ratio of the built-up area to the plot area, and indicates the extent of construction permissible on a site.

The caveat for the redevelopment is that at least 70 percent tenants should have given their consent for the project.

The policy, which will only cover tenancies created till June 13,1996, makes it mandatory for developers to house tenants in the redeveloped building free of cost in dwellings with a minimum carpet area of 300 square feet to a maximum of 753 square feet.

“For any additional area, the tenant will have to pay the cost of construction as per the state’s ready reckoner rates. Also, we want to ensure that only buildings in need of urgent redevelopment avail of the benefits of this policy, so we have specifically said the policy will cover only tenant-occupied buildings that have been declared unsafe for human habitation or are to be demolished under a lawful order of the BMC,” an official from the state urban development department said.

While there has been a redevelopment policy to incentivise cessed structures--tenanted buildings in the island under the Rent Control Act that pay a cess for their maintenance--there was no incentive until now for the reconstruction of extremely dilapidated non-cessed buildings.

Even as the BMC has declared about 640 buildings as extremely dangerous and inhabitable by residents, eviction of people from these buildings and their demolition has been slow, as tenants are often unwilling to move out, leading to mishaps especially during the monsoon. The redevelopment of such buildings too has been sluggish due to lack of incentives for developers and tenants.

Up to July 31, of the 640 extremely dilapidated buildings, the BMC was able to demolish just 20 buildings and vacate residents from 115.

Pankaj Joshi, executive director, Urban Design Research Institute (UDRI), said, “The policy will definitely give impetus to the redevelopment of old decrepit buildings. It was unfair that there was a substantially higher FSI only for the redevelopment of cessed buildings and not for other dilapidated buildings. However, the procedure of declaring a building unsafe for habitation has to be more nuanced and rigid to ensure buildings in perfectly sound condition are not being torn down simply to get the benefit of the policy.”

First Published: Sep 12, 2017 16:02 IST