PRE­MA­TURE CEL­E­BRA­TION

Builders party on BMC com­mis­sioner’s exit but he could re­turn in a new role

India Today - - NATION - By Kiran Tare

The exit on April 30 of the tough Bri­han­mum­bai Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion ( BMC) com­mis­sioner Su­bodh Kumar, who changed the city’s de­vel­op­ment con­trol rules in favour of home buy­ers, was re­port­edly greeted by some builders with a party in Dubai in the first week of May. But their cel­e­bra­tions might be short- lived, es­pe­cially with Chief Min­is­ter Prithvi­raj Cha­van likely to ap­point him as head of the pro­posed Ma­ha­rash­tra Hous­ing Reg­u­la­tory Au­thor­ity ( MHRA). More­over, new BMC Com­mis­sioner Si­taram Kunte has an­nounced that he will toe his pre­de­ces­sor’s line.

Kumar had stalled many forth­com­ing hous­ing projects when he took over in De­cem­ber 2010, say­ing he would clear them only af­ter amend­ing the De­vel­op­ment Con­trol Rules. The project de­lays caused builders huge losses. The rules were fi­nally amended on Jan­uary 3, 2012, “to curb the cor­rup­tion and min­imise dis­cre­tion in giv­ing per­mis­sion for con­struc­tion”. Un­der the new rule, builders aren’t al­lowed to charge ex­tra for bal­conies, flower beds, ter­races as these are part of the floor space in­dex ( FSI). Builders are an un­happy lot. “If the builders are made to pay more for FSI, they will cer­tainly pass on the cost to the cus­tomers. No builder will pay from his own pocket,” says ar­chi­tect Arif Noorani, 38.

A source in the chief min­is­ter’s of­fice says Kumar is likely to head MHRA af­ter the Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly passes the Ma­ha­rash­tra Hous­ing ( Reg­u­la­tion and De­vel­op­ment) Bill, tabled by the gov­ern­ment in April, in the mon­soon ses­sion com­menc­ing in July. The builders can party, but at their peril.

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