Maharashtra government scraps affordable housing in special development zones, ET RealEstate
MUMBAI: Restoring the city’s No-Development Zones (NDZs), the state on Thursday issued a notification to scrap affordable housing in these zones – under the name Special Development Zone. Only high density slums will be referred to as SDZs now.
The notification reintroduces the low floor space index of 0.025 on NDZs and allows tourism development, educational institutions, ground-plus-one residential structures, IT parks etc.
The urban development department’s notification invited objections and suggestions for sanctioning the few remaining Excluded Parts (EPs) of the Development Plan (DP) 2034 covering SDZs. The DP contains two components – Sanctioned and Excluded. The Sanctioned Parts are provisions ready for implementation, while the EP have newly introduced provisions for which the government invites suggestions and objections from the public.
Former CM Uddhav Tha-ckeray had refused to sanction these EPs as he had considered them ecologically damaging and detrimental to Mumbai. Thackeray, sources said, had signed a detailed note stating his reasons for not sanctioning SDZs. Later, some landowners approached Bombay high court asking for the EPs to be sanctioned. The HC had then directed the state to decide within eight weeks. The Eknath Shinde government has now decided to scrap the SDZs, except where high-density slum areas are located.
Architect Vilas Nagalkar said this new notification will restrict construction on NDZs. “The earlier plan was to allow unabated construction in such zones. Only it will be for redevelopment of slum pockets,” he told TOI.
Urban researcher Hussain Indorewala said the new notification has done away with affordable housing in SDZs. “Only densely populated slums (650 tenements per hectare) will be redeveloped through slum rehabilitation scheme on such lands,” he said. “The scrapping of affordable housing on SDZs raises the question of whether the government is reconsidering their assessment of supply and demand for affordable housing.”
The biggest challenge was that there was absence of civic infrastructure on these lands. “Perhaps there were no takers for this affordable housing scheme amongst builders and hence the state decided to scrap it,” said a town planner.
Indorewala said it is unclear what kind of development the government proposes through tourism and IT park zones. “It is largely creating commercial infrastructure rather than essential infrastructure for citizens. The government must look outside Mumbai for land for tourism development and IT parks.”