A State Government notification modifying the cluster redevelopment policy has not only caused eyebrows to be raised, but has also led to tension between Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, who heads the Urban Development Department, and his ally, the BJP.
"In Thane, 44 clusters have been created, of which seven have received a nod [for redevelopment],” said Sanjay Kelkar, BJP MLA. “There are standalone dilapidated buildings as well in them. If a society with a dilapidated building wants to go in for redevelopment on its own, the authorities will not approve it. This is to push them to undertake redevelopment in the cluster scheme, which is unfair," he added.
Mr Kelkar said that while notices are sent to residents to vacate dangerous and dilapidated buildings they are not permitted to redevelop them.
"Let the cluster redevelopment of Eknath Shinde’s area be completed first,” he said. “In that part of Thane, crucial issues remain, so let it be done first. It has been so many years, yet redevelopment is not progressing there. Why? Because there are problems,” he added.
According to the Government’s notification of Dec 23, if residents do not join a redevelopment scheme within 15 days of approval by the implementing agency, action will be taken under provisions of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning (MR&TP) Act and their structures removed to ensure that no obstruction is caused to the scheme sanctioned by the majority.
The consent of 51% of tenement holders is enough to proceed with cluster redevelopment.
The problem arises if more structures in the cluster are unauthorised than legal, because those in the former would favour redevelopment and occupants of authorised buildings not in favour will be seen as hindering the project, making them susceptible to forcible acquisition of their plots.
Moreover, such people "will not be eligible for transit tenements with the others and they will not be eligible for the reconstructed tenements, but they will be entitled only to what is available after others have chosen, which may be on the same or some other site," says the controversial notification.
The notification also says residential structures that are not part of the building permissions for the development scheme will lose the right to any built-up tenements. These tenements will be taken over by the civic body to be disposed off as per guidelines or used for accommodating project-affected persons and other beneficiaries who cannot be accommodated on site.
The notification has far-reaching implications and affects lakhs of home owners as it is applicable in all areas except those under the BMC, other planning authorities, special planning authorities, development authorities within Mumbai, MIDC, NAINA, JNPT, hill station civic councils, eco-sensitive regions, Lonavala Municipal Council, CIDCO, Multimodal International Hub Airport of Nagpur (MIHAN), Maharashtra Airport Development Company and Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation.
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