Here is some good news for the tenants of cess buildings, whose redevelopment has been lingering for the past several years. The Maharashtra government has made a legal provision under which the Mumbai Building Repairs and Redevelopment Board (MBRRB) can take over such projects. A bill has been passed with some amendments in the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) Act, 1976, paving way for the redevelopment of cess buildings that are mainly located in South Mumbai.
MBRRB, an undertaking of MHADA, was only allowed to cancel the No Objection Certificate (NOC) till date. However, it can now take over such projects and redevelop them in a time-bound manner. "The developers are given an intimation of disapproval or authorisation (IOD) and commencement certificate (CC) to undertake redevelopment. However, once the IOD and CC were issued, the board did not have the right to acquire the property. Now, with the passing of this bill, it can directly acquire the disputed property. However, firstly, a notice will be sent to the developer, giving six months time to begin the work. If he fails, the tenants will be given time for another six months to undertake redevelopment. If they too fail, then MBRRB will acquire the property and undertake redevelopment," said Vinod Ghosalkar, chairman of MBRRB.
In Mumbai, there are about 14,000 cess buildings divided into three categories. Category A buildings were built prior to 1940, category B buildings were constructed between 1940 and 1950 and category C buildings were built before 1969. All the buildings are dangerous. Annually, before monsoon, the board issues a list of the most dangerous buildings out of the dangerous ones that need to be vacated by the tenants as a precautionary measure. Ghosalkar said, "The new bill will not only resolve the much awaited redevelopment issue of cess buildings, but will also generate housing stock."