| Now, get ready for slum-rehab
civic body style
By Clara Lewis/TNN
Mumbai: For builders who have fattened themselves on government-floated
cross-subsidy schemes, another bonanza is on the way. This time it’s
the BMC that’s all set to float its very own version of the state
government’s Slum Rehabilitation Scheme (SRS).
Under the new scheme—prompted by an acute shortage of houses for BMC
employees—builders can buy plots at a premium from the civic body.
These plots have been earmarked for staff quarters or allotment to
cooperative housing societies of civic employees and houses for those
displaced by public projects. The BMC will get 40 per cent of the
total flats constructed, while the rest will be sold in the open market.
The BMC will thus get around 20,000 quarters for its employees.
Although the scheme is yet to get the green signal from the state
government, builders are already queuing up with their proposals at
the BMC headquarters. According to civic sources, some builders have
come armed with recommendations from politicians.
The interest is obvious, given the mega profits that the scheme offers.
Under the Development Control Regulations, builders can use a floor
space index (FSI) of 4 on land reserved for project-affected people.
In the case of land reserved for municipal housing and staff quarters,
however, the FSI is only 1, the normal FSI permitted in the city.
What is even more interesting is the fact that the developer will
be allowed to use transfer of development rights (TDR) in the suburbs.
This means the developer will be able to put up relatively big buildings
on plots where it would normally not be possible to do so.
In the SRA scheme, the builder has to rehabilitate slum dwellers free
of cost and, in lieu of this, gets an FSI of 2.5, which he can sell
for profit. The BMC’s version is more attractive because builders
can buy vacant plots with no burden of rehabilitation.
The move has been prompted by the acute housing shortage being faced
by BMC employees (the waiting list is around 4,000). Joint municipal
commissioner Satish Bhide said that the scheme, if approved, would
create around 20,000 quarters for its employees.
The state had amended the Development Control Rules in 2001 to allow
private participation in housing for municipal employees. The BMC
had so far not framed any guidelines to implement this. At present,
it has around 17,500 quarters, a majority of which are occupied by
employees who have retired from service.
The new scheme is a variation of an earlier housing one implemented
by the BMC under the Urban Renewal Scheme at Tulsiwadi, Tardeo. Tulsiwadi,
a sprawling 78,000 sq ft of municipal land, was encroached upon by
2,600 slum-dwellers and housed 725 tenements of the conservancy staff.
The scheme required the builder to construct a 110-ft road and clear
the storm water drains of hutments. After rehabilitating the slum-dwellers
and constructing tenements for the conservancy staff, the builder
was allowed to exploit a portion of the land commercially. The quarters
were ultimately provided to the conservancy staff on ownership basis.