After getting approval from the Defence Ministry, the Maharashtra government on Monday issued a circular reducing the ban on construction around defence lands from 500 metres to 10 metres in non-security zones. The decision will pave the way for projects both residential and commercial, falling in the 500-metre category. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis stated that the decision was applicable to projects and premises that do not come under the sensitive defence zones. And that there was no question of any compromise on security.
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The state government issued a circular in accordance with guidelines laid down by the deputy director (lands), ministry of defence, to relax the construction ban close to defence establishments. The decision is expected to bring major relief to people living in old and dilapidated buildings around central ordinance depots and other establishments across Pune, Kolhapur, Nagpur, Jalgaon, and Aurangabad in Maharashtra.
Till now, any construction within 500 metres of defence establishments, even where it was not a sensitive zone, was not allowed. The modified norms will allow development within 10 metres albeit with strict guidelines to ensure security is not compromised. Fadnavis had raised the issue with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar last December. It was regularly pursued for the past one year. The demand for bringing down restrictions from 500 metres to 10 metres was to pave the way for redevelopment of old and dilapidated residential and slum structures which did not come in the area of the security zone.
The Centre-state had been working on the issue for several decades. Residents of old, dilapidated structures often complained about rules that thwarted construction projects and endangered their lives. A large number of projects across Mumbai and its suburbs were struck as it was mandatory to get the no-objection certificate for any development including repairs within 500 metres of defence establishments.
The chief minister had also apprised Parrikar about the rampant illegal encroachments and slums on defence land. Several projects, residential, commercial and slum redevelopment, across western and eastern suburbs including Malad, Kandivali, Vile-Parle and Juhu were awaiting clearance for several decades. BJP MLA Atul Bhatkhalkar had been relentlessly pursuing the issue with the state government.