Policy boost for revamp of Mumbai’s 30,000 dilapidated buildings
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Policy boost for revamp of Mumbai’s 30,000 dilapidated buildings

BMC aims to ensure more transparency in the process so that tenants’ rights are better protected

mumbai Updated: Nov 18, 2017 11:36 IST
Sagar Pillai
Sagar Pillai
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,BMC,Dilapidated Building
The policy assumes significance following several building collapse incidents in the recent past such as the Bhendi Bazaar collapse in August this year.

In a significant move that will bring transparency and order to redeveloping old and dilapidated buildings in the city, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is bringing a new policy that will ensure tenants’ rights and streamline the process, which is often stuck in a tussle between residents and landlords or developers.

The policy assumes significance following several building collapse incidents in the recent past. It will help repair or redevelop 30,000 old and dilapidated buildings in the city. It will be immediately applicable for 669 dilapidated buildings, mostly in the island city, which have more than 8,000 residents. They fall in the category of extremely dangerous structures that need to be demolished.

The policy will make it mandatory for owners to enter into an agreement with the tenants to secure the latter’s rights as well as assuring them alternative accommodation. At the same time, it will enforce strict guidelines to determine dangerous buildings.

Civic chief Ajoy Mehta said: “We are bringing a new policy to make the redevelopment process transparent and objective. With a significant number of dilapidated buildings in the city, the policy will ensure redevelopment is taken up in cases where it is needed to and none of the interested parties are able to stall or unnecessarily delay the process.”

Often, tenants of the dilapidated buildings are unwilling to vacate their houses for fear of losing them after redevelopment. There have been cases of tenants living in transit camps for a long time, even though the buildings are ready and flats are sold in the open market. The new policy will also assure they get an alternate accommodation. A senior civic official said, “This condition has been mentioned in the Intimation of Disapproval (IOD), a permission given by the BMC allowing for the developer for redevelopment. If the owners fail to make an agreement, the civic body will not issue a commencement certificate to redevelop the dilapidated structure. Once the structural audit indicates the building is extremely dangerous, owners will have to compulsorily notify the tenants by displaying this on the notice board.”

While landowners and developers rush to revamp old structures in order to get more Floor Space Index (FSI), the new policy makes it mandatory to conduct structural audits before declaring them dangerous. The move comes after it was observed buildings were categorised as dangerous based on visual inspections and no scientific method. A senior official said, “Even civic officials will now have to submit details of methods used by them while categorising the building as C1, C2 (dangerous structures that require major repairs and C3 (buildings that require minor repairs).”

Under the policy, the BMC will introduce five new Technical Advisory Committees of experts for the suburbs and the island city, which will play a crucial role in deciding the nature of dangerous categories for dilapidated buildings in the city. This will also help in a quicker resolution of disputes between tenants and owners over structural audits of their buildings, Currently, there is only one committee that is burdened with all the disputes of dilapidated structures in the city. This has led to further delay in determining their condition.

Sanjay Chaturvedi, property lawyer, said, “There are more than 30,000 old buildings in the city. I have received several cases wherein tenants have complained that the landowners have declared the structures as dilapidated without proper inspection. This policy will surely resolve such cases.” Officials confirmed the policy will soon be uploaded on the BMC’s website.

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First Published: Nov 18, 2017 00:42 IST