Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has written to Union defence Minister Rajnath Singh, seeking a No Objection Certificate (NOC) for accommodating tenants on the restricted floors of the transit camps constructed in Colaba. The CM also sought redevelopment permission for dilapidated transit camps at Cuffe Parade. A copy of the said letter, which was written in February, is with the Free Press Journal.
Mumbai Building Repairs and Reconstruction Board (MBRRB) chairman Vinod Ghosalkar said, "The CM has written to Union minister since the matter falls in the ambit of defence. As the Occupation Certificate (OC), granted to the existing two transit buildings g+7 and g+6 in Colaba, is only up to three floors whereas the above floors are unoccupied. Since the board doesn't have enough transit accommodation, it has proposed to do redevelopment, while applying for the OC clearance for the restricted floors."
In the letter, the CM explained that the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) has undertaken a project for the redevelopment of existing transit buildings in Cuffe Parade. These dilapidated transit camps are located 245 metre away from the outer boundary of Colaba Military station. The residents are staying in these transit camps for the past many years. Hence, they are reluctant to shift to safer accommodation due to fear of losing their present residence. "Therefore, the Maharashtra government and MHADA have decided to undertake reconstruction /redevelopment of these transit camps and provide accommodation as a permanent residence to them as welfare measures within two years," the letter read.
It further said that the MHADA constructed two buildings in Colaba, with the capacity to house 161 tenements and subsequently applied to get OC for these buildings. However, during the intervening period, the MMRDA, which is the special planning authority of Cuffe Parade and Colaba, received notice from the ministry of defence on May 18, 2011. The notice stated that the NOC is to be obtained from the local military authority/defence establishment for any construction activity within the vicinity of the Defence Establishment as per the guidelines set in the circular.
Therefore, as mandated in the circular, the MHADA obtained NOC from Station Head Quarters Mumbai sub area Colaba for the mentioned two buildings via application dated December 10, 2014. It asked for granting OC up to G+3 floors as the subject land falls within the limit of 500 metres from the Military Station.
The transit camps at Cuffe Parade presently consist of 525 tenements and 12 shops. Hence, to create sufficient housing stock so as to accommodate tenants from other dilapidated cess buildings in Mumbai, it becomes necessary to construct G+22 floors (70 metres) tall buildings at this location.
Whereas the Ministry of Defence, vide its circular dated October 21 of 2016, stated that the 'Defence NOC' shall not be insisted if the subject development is taking place beyond 100 metres away from the boundary of the Defence Establishments. In view of this, it requested to issue such guidelines for the Mumbai either by including Colaba Defence Station in the said Annexure of this circular or by issuing separate circular as deemed fit by the Union defence ministry, the letter read.
The CM also pointed out in the letter that looking at the deplorable condition of the transit camps, the concerned defence establishment may please be instructed for a positive review of the MHADA proposal and issuance of NOC for the entire layout for construction up to g+22 floors and also for the already constructed two buildings of g+7 and g+6 floors. This shall entail more eligible members of the affected tenants to be provided accommodation and also help shift them in ready to move condition constructed buildings.