Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
The Mumbai Municipal Corporation has proposed opening up 5,189 acres of land which at present is in the ‘no development zone’ (NDZ) as also 642 acres of salt pan lands within Mumbai Municipal Corporation’s limits. This is part of the new Development Plan which should be submitted to the BMC’s general body shortly, said Niranjan Hiranandani, MD, Hiranandani Communities.
Last year, the Maharashtra Government has appointed a committee to supervise a plan for optimum utilization of salt pan lands in Mumbai. There was a suggestion that the salt pan lands in the city and the suburbs could be used for building affordable houses and civic amenities, such as open spaces. “Any good move on part of the powers that be, either the Municipal Corporation or the State Government, is welcome,” said Niranjan Hiranandani, MD, Hiranandani Communities. “The fact that the DP will look at the possibility of housing projects, to build affordable houses for people, on areas that are not ecologically sensitive is also welcome. Beyond the positive aspect, my thoughts are on how this also has the potential to help meet the challenge of a slum-free Mumbai,” he added.
Media reports suggest the proposal has the potential, considering both, NDZ and salt pan lands, to provide a much needed boost for development of about 1 million affordable housing units. Plus, the unlocking of these lands, on areas that are not ecologically sensitive, has the potential to help develop more social amenities in Mumbai.
“If one looks at the past decade, the story of Mumbai’s real estate has largely, remained constant: high demand for affordable homes, not enough support in form of restrictive rules and regulations, zoning and permissible FSI norms, excessive time taken for permissions and clearances. I have always felt that the powers that be, from the Centre to the State and the Local Self Bodies – not to forget bodies like Environment Clearance, or the DGCA for height clearance of structures from a flight path perspective – were more of ‘regulators’ than ‘facilitators’,’ explained Niranjan Hiranandani.
This has always resulted in directly impacting land availability for real estate development, he said. “To give an example, NDZ and salt pan lands, if allowed change in usage – on areas that are not ecologically sensitive – can be used for creation of low cost housing for LIG and EWC segments. This is why the proposal has the potential to be positive, utilization of NDZ and salt pan lands for building homes should be welcomed by Mumbaikars, said Niranjan Hiranandani.
“The proposal definitely has the potential to impact availability of land for real estate development, and if taken in sync with the proposed additional FSI for such projects, this should have a positive impact on making homes available for affordable and budget home seekers in Mumbai,” he added.
How will NDZ and salt pan lands in the city and the suburbs being used for building affordable houses impact Mumbai’s real estate? “The answer is simple,” said Niranjan Hiranandani. “If implemented properly and in a time-bound manner, things always work out better. But, any such proposal needs to be supplemented with other ‘positives’, such as infrastructure projects and policy decisions which help make it a reality,” he added.
“So, the proposal on NDZ and salt pan lands has the potential for not just enhancing the availability of land for real estate development, but it also needs support from citizens, as also time-bound infrastructure development to create the possibility of Mumbai’s LIG and EWC segment of home seekers finally getting their dream homes become a reality,” he concluded.
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