With the crucial Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation polls coming closer, warring allies BJP and Shiv Sena are set to share stage at a function to roll out the government’s new housing policies at Ghatkopar on Friday.
With sections from both parties desirous of contesting the Mumbai polls independently, the BJP and the Sena have previously been involved in an intense race to grab credit for important city-related decisions.
While insiders from both parties and political observers said it was too early to say whether Friday’s show signalled a course correction, they agreed it had political overtones, with Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Sena’s Uddhav Thackeray coming together for the event. Almost all new policies expected to be announced Friday would centre around redevelopment of suburban properties, sources confirmed.
Clearing the decks for revamp of thousands of unsafe tenanted buildings in the suburbs, the government will announce an incentive FSI policy for them, on the lines of the redevelopment of cessed structures. According to the new policy, buildings declared dangerous or unfit to live in by the municipality would be eligible for an FSI of 3. At present, they are eligible for an FSI of 2.
The demand to grant more construction permission for such redevelopment has been longstanding – a government panel had first recommended the grant of additional FSI back in 1995. Sources said that the new policy would also allow such buildings to work around a Bombay High Court ruling that had restricted the FSI in the city from March 1 onwards, on account of inadequate solid waste management measures.
A revamped policy for redevelopment of societies situated inside 56 Mhada-owned layouts in the suburbs is also on the cards. Sources said that the government is expected to reintroduce the model that would allow the redevelopers of such properties to pay premium for compensating the state housing board for it’s share in the surplus area remaining after rehabilitation of the existing tenants and the proportionate sale component.
A senior minister said that the one of the reasons for choosing Ghatkopar as the venue for the event was that the eastern suburbs have the largest chunk of such Mhada layouts, and also have several dilapidated tenanted buildings. Incidentally, Housing Minister Prakash Mehta (BJP) hails from the region.
Also on the cards is an announcement for introduction of a cluster redevelopment scheme for the suburbs on the lines of the model existing in the island city.
Some FSI perks are also expected to be declared for affordable housing schemes in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
The government has already announced it’s intention to release salt pan lands for construction of houses for the economically weaker sections.