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Realtors seek early decision on release of salt pan land

If this land is reclaimed, there will be plenty of land to start affordable mass housing projects.

Maharashtra government’s new housing policy, released on Friday in the run-up to the election to the 227-member Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) slated for early 2017, has evoked mix reactions from realty firms.

Niranjan Hiranandani, managing director of Hiranandani Group, said: “Buildings in suburbs have become old and dilapidated and their redevelopment will be possible with extra floor space index (FSI) on the lines of island city of Mumbai. Further, 15,000 buildings of Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority will also be redeveloped. The rehabilitation of slums around Mumbai airport will be now made in situ within three km and this will pave way for the construction of high rise buildings.” He said the development of salt pan land spread over 2,000 acre was missing in the new policy.

According to Gulam Zia, executive director (advisory, retail and hospitality) of Knight Frank (India), additional FSI to incentivise redevelopment of old dilapidated is a welcome move. “However, the major issue of creating affordable housing stock by unlocking salt pan land remains in abeyance. So, the vision of ‘housing for all’ has to wait for now.”

Rajesh Krishnan, managing director and CEO of Brick Eagle Capital Advisory, said there was no clarity on availability of salt pan land for construction. According to him, if this land is reclaimed, there will be plenty of land to start affordable mass housing projects. “However, the government will have to take into consideration the environment implications.”

According to Krishnan, cluster development would help ease pressure on the island city’s infrastructure as in future, the business and corporate centres could move to surburbs.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena say the redevelopment of old and dilapidated buildings will help create new housing stock for the common man. However, Opposition parties Congress and Nationalist Congress Party termed it as “old wine in new bottle”.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said it’s not meant for the builders’ lobby but for the common man. Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray shared chief minister’s views saying his party would not allow builders to indulge in changing names of localities, as has been done in some central Mumbai areas.

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