Maharashtra Housing Policy set to revive cluster development
The unveiling of the new Maharashtra housing policy is being touted as a major factor for boosting realty development in Mumbai suburbs. It is expected that the 'Housing for All' initiative will be closer to realization, with a major focus on cluster redevelopment. The article delves deeper to analyse how it will ease the infrastructure pressure on the city.
Mumbai, the financial capital of India, has been constantly facing an acute shortage of land to provide affordable housing to the city dwellers. Further, the city and its suburbs boast of the maximum number of old and dilapidated structures which require utmost attention. In this regard, Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on September 2, announced the Maharashtra government's new housing policy which emphasises on redevelopment and cluster development (redeveloping entire locality instead of single buildings), overhauling Dharavi slum, transit camps, old MHADA structures among others.
This decision has evoked mix reactions from the real estate industry with experts feeling that this will result in a complete makeover of the suburbs.
Rajesh Krishnan, MD & CEO Brick Eagle Capital Advisory, avers, "Maharashtra government has taken its first step in recognising the need for 'affordable housing for all' in a metro city such as Mumbai. The government's announcement on cluster development is a step towards facilitating mass housing for the middle and low-income population at affordable pricing."
Inclusion in The Policy
Inclusions in the policy The new housing policy proposed redevelopment of buildings on 7,000 lots in 104 layouts of the state-run Maharashtra Housing & Area Development Authority (MHADA) in Greater Mumbai. Floor Space Index (FSI) of four will be given for MHADA layouts of which a developer will get an FSI of three (earlier it was two) for redevelopment of a plot up to 2,000 sq mtr under modified DCR 33 (7) (a) scheme. In addition, developers also have the option to buy additional FSI of one under 33 (5) scheme, however, they will be required to build additional housing stock for MHADA. The state government is expecting that around 30,000 homes will on the MHADA lots in Greater Mumbai.
The CM also announced the extension of the cluster redevelopment scheme under DCR 33 (9) to the suburbs. Under the new scheme, the suburbs will get a chance of better development and amenities. Non-buildable plots can be developed resulting in more open spaces. Redevelopment of old or dilapidated buildings in the suburbs will be carried out under a cluster scheme, which is currently applicable only in Mumbai. At least 10,000 old or dilapidated buildings from the suburbs are expected to get a makeover. "Cluster development would help in easing the pressure on the island city's infrastructure as in the future, the business and corporate centres could also move to suburbs," Krishnan adds.
Meanwhile, the huge talking point in the policy is the redevelopment of Dharavi, Asia's biggest slum. The redevelopment project has repeatedly failed to take-off in the last few years finding no takers. As per the policy, about 85,000 slum dwellers residing near the Mumbai airport will be rehabilitated within three km of the current location.
What was missing?
The state government was planning to go ahead with the policy to allow construction on salt pans and no-development zone. Some of the key proposals included part-utilisation of salt pan lands around 650 acres between Ghatkopar and Mumbai in North East Mumbai for constructing 1.5 lakh houses. However, it was missing in the new policy. "There is still no clarity on availability of salt pans for constructions. If this land is reclaimed, there will be plenty of land to start affordable mass housing projects," Krishnan added. However, it's a fine balance that the government will have to strike since it has to take into consideration environment implications.
Overall, the policy aims to make Mumbai slum-free. While the government is laying emphasis on providing affordable housing, the focus should also be on other key factors such as access to mass transportation and connectivity to locations offering employment which is of equal importance.
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