Slums may go high-rise as state plans to reg­u­larise up­per floors

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Naresh Ka­math naresh.ka­math@hin­dus­tan­times.com

MUM­BAI: The city’s vast slums are set to grow some more, this time ver­ti­cally, as the state gov­ern­ment plans to make up­per floors in slums also el­i­gi­ble for re­de­vel­op­ment.

So far, only one level was con­sid­ered for re­de­vel­op­ment un­der the Slum Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Author­ity’s (SRA) scheme — ap­prox­i­mately 12 lakh slums and 50 lakh peo­ple are cur­rently el­i­gi­ble to get bet­ter homes at no cost when their slums are re­de­vel­oped.

This week, Prakash Me­hta, the state hous­ing min­is­ter, said the state cab­i­net had adopted the Cen­tre’s hous­ing-for-all scheme, and to cre­ate more homes, his depart­ment plans to ex­pand the scheme to the up­per floors of Mum­bai’s slums. An an­nounce­ment will be made soon, he said.

Ex­perts, how­ever, said the plan is a recipe for dis­as­ter as it will en­cour­age the ver­ti­cal growth of slums and add pres­sure on an al­ready bur­dened in­fra­struc­ture.

The de­ci­sion is also seen by many as a po­lit­i­cal one — with civic elec­tions due in 2017, no po­lit­i­cal party will op­pose the move keep­ing in mind the large vote bank. For pri­vate builders, who un­der­take the re­de­vel­op­ment in re­turn for ex­tra floor space in­dex or build­able area, the move will lead to a wind­fall of prof­its, which means more po­lit­i­cal do­na­tions for the rul­ing party. Ac­cord­ing to the new rule, peo­ple liv­ing on the first and sec­ond floors would not get free homes, but will be given homes at af­ford­able rates.

CON­TIN­UED ON P7

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