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Supreme Court lifts freeze on new constructions in Mumbai

A bench lifted the Feb 2016 embargo with a rider that no new construction will be allowed without ensuring disposal of construction debris

mumbai Updated: Mar 17, 2018 12:29 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari
Kanchan Chaudhari
Hindustan Times
Mumbai news,Mumbai construction,Supreme Court
A bench of Justice Sharad Bobde and Justice L Nageswara Rao lifted the February 2016 embargo with a rider that no new construction in the city will be allowed without first ensuring disposal of construction debris.(HT File (Represenrtational Image))

The Supreme Court on Thursday lifted a two-year-old moratorium on new construction in the city imposed by the Bombay high court. A bench of Justice Sharad Bobde and Justice L Nageswara Rao lifted the February 2016 embargo with a rider that no new construction in the city will be allowed without first ensuring disposal of construction debris. This is irrespective of whether the construction permit is fresh or was granted earlier.

The bench directed Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to add this condition to its construction permissions, and further asked the civic body to revoke the permission in case of non-compliance.

The order says any builder will be permitted to start construction only after an undertaking of proper disposal of debris as part of Intimation of Disapproval (IOD) and submitting a bank guarantee of Rs5 lakh to Rs50 lakh as a guarantee of proper waste disposal. The order will remain in effect for six months after which BMC will have to submit a fresh report to SC.

The order came on a Special Leave Petition moved by Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI), whose plea for review of the previous order was rejected by Bombay high court. The 2016 order restrained the BMC and the state from granting permission for any new residential or commercial construction within BMC limits.

MCHI-CREDAI President Mayur Shah termed the SC order “a huge relief to the citizens of this metropolis”. He said: “People living in dilapidated and old buildings will benefit from this decision as redevelopment activity can resume. It will also generate additional income for the BMC and the state.”

A top civic official said he would react to the order only after reading it.

Bombay HC had issued its order after noticing that more than half the municipal solid waste generated in the city was being dumped, contrary to the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Management Rules, and was, thus, illegal. In its order, the high court had said, “More and more constructions in the city will increase population density, which will lead to generation of more and more municipal solid waste as also construction waste.” SC’s order on Thursday directed large builders to deposit construction waste at one of the 10 sites identified by BMC. Small builders, the order said, will have their debris collected by municipal agencies.

The judges noted that, according to an affidavit filed by the BMC, around 8,600 metric tonnes a day of municipal solid waste is being generated in the city, but the municipal corporation’s capacity is to process only 3,000 metric tonnes of solid waste a day. Thus, the remaining 5,600 metric tonnes of municipal solid waste was being dumped illegally.

MCHI had contended in front of the apex court that there was no basis for the Bombay high court to conclude that new construction will lead to the creation of more solid waste. The body of builders and developers claimed that there were separate Construction and Demolition Waste rules and those rules were being strictly complied with.

First Published: Mar 17, 2018 12:25 IST