A slum dweller has been asked to pay over Rs 1.78 lakh development charges for getting building plan sanctioned from Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) for a 1,000 sq ft plot, as per the newly proposed rules. This could become the norm, denying slum dwellers any chance to develop or regularise their properties, if the civic chief does not accept the general body’s decision to discard the proposed rules.
TOI was the first to report on February 26 the new policy prepared and implemented by NMC administration, making it mandatory for slum dwellers to pay development charges, construct houses as per guidelines mentioned in unified development control and promotion regulations (UDCPR), and submit various documents.
Taking cognizance of TOI report, Sanjay Balpande during his tenure as corporator raised the issue in the NMC general body, calling the policy illegal. The general body on March 2 set aside the policy and directed preparation of a new one, where poor people residing in notified slums may not require to pay any charges.
Six days later, the minutes of the meeting are yet to each municipal commissioner Radhakrishnan B, who will decide whether to implement the decision of the general body or not.
After implementation of new policy on February 18, NMC slum department received an application from Biharilal Shivhare, a resident of notified slum at Sadar, seeking building plan sanction. His plot area is 97.4 sq m (1,048 sq ft) and construction of house was proposed on 84.183 sq m (905.81 sq ft) area. The civic body prepared demand note of Rs1,77,807 and it was all set to be issued to Shivhare.
NMC’s development charges are based on ready reckoner value. Therefore, charges might he high for notified slums in South-west, West and Central Nagpur. Earlier, NMC used to sanction building plans without taking any charges.
Shivhare said, “It is impossible for poor people residing in slums to pay such high charges. There are two types of people residing in notified slums. Some have managed to flourish and can afford such charges. Majority of people are earning bread and butter on daily wages. Such people cannot manage to construct house by taking loan or saving Rs2 lakh in entire life. They are unable to pay even electric and water charges.”
Balpande too said people in slum areas cannot afford the charges. “NMC will have to take back its decision of constructing houses as per guidelines of UDCPR in slums, which is also not possible. Similarly, civic body should not ask for documents other than ownership rights (malki haq patta),” he said.
Radhakrishnan said, “We want to focus on commercial and extensive developments taking place in slums using slum occupancy rights. We are aware about the problems of poor people in slums. We are trying to work out a solution in consultation with government for people who cannot afford charges. Our intention is not to create problems for slum-dwellers but to recover charges from those who are taking undue advantage and constructing big commercial and residential buildings in notified slums.”