SC Lifts Construction Ban In Greater Mumbai; New Landfills Identified
A year after it imposed a ban on real estate construction in Greater Mumbai, the Supreme Court (SC) has lifted it for the next six months. The order has come as a big relief for the developers in the city as projects worth Rs 2,000 crore were stuck since March 2016, owing to the order.
The ban has, however, been lifted with conditions. Construction debris, for instance, should not reach the Deonar and Mulund dumping grounds as these sites are already saturated.
To make available new sites for the purpose, the Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI) has also identified 10 new land parcels across the region. The identified locations are Ulwe, Vahal, JNPT SEZ, Pushpak (Navi Mumbai), Aarey Picnic Point, Aarey Colony, Village Kalher, Bhiwandi, Bambavle, MIDC Land, Mhape and MIDC Land, Ambernath.
Since the dumping grounds at Deonar and Mulund have already been saturated, the dumping site at Kanjurmarg is the only one that has facilities for scientific treatment of waste. As a result, less than half of the city's 8,000 tonne of daily solid waste is processed at Kanjurmarg while the rest, according to the high court, is illegally dumped. Therefore on March 1, 2016, the Bombay High Court banned all new construction in Greater Mumbai until the civic authority comes up with a concrete plan for processing solid waste. The inability of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to safely dispose of solid waste and debris generated by the construction industry was the premise for the ban. The developers then moved to the SC to file a petition against the order due to affected supply and monetary loss being incurred by them.
The court ruling
While the high court ban didn’t apply to the redevelopment of cessed, old and dilapidated buildings, cluster and slum redevelopment, the redevelopment of tenanted properties in the suburb wasn’t allowed unless the BMC comes up with alternative plan to handle debris. The order also restricted the BMC from granting new floor space index (FSI) in the case of a modification in the Development Control Rules (DCR) to constructions. According to the earlier orders, the civic body can only accept proposals for new construction but not issue Intimation of Disapproval (IOD) and Commencement Certificates (CC).
However, in a fresh ruling, the SC has clearly mentioned that its order is to explore the possibility of a safe method of permitting certain constructions in Mumbai for a limited period.
“It also has a serious impact on loans obtained by developers and builders. Such a ban makes serious inroads into the rights of citizens under Articles 19, 21 and 300A of the Constitution of India. Though it might be equally true that the activities and the neglect in disposing of debris invade the rights of other citizens under Article 21, etc. That issue is left open for proper determination,” states the order.
The court has asked the BMC to submit a report after six months. Also, a monitoring committee will be formed to inspect the grant of IODs and visit disposal sites and bring any breach to the notice of the civic authority. Apart from this, the builders will be permitted to start construction after giving an undertaking of disposal of debris as part of IOD while submitting a bank guarantee of Rs 5 lakh to Rs 50 lakh for a guarantee of disposal of waste.
With inputs from Housing News