The Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) has approached the state government to allow developers of its projects to pay premiums and charges in installments. The state’s urban development (UD) department has been extending the facility to the BMC, MHADA, MSRDC and MMRDA since September 2019, but has left out SRA developers.
In a letter to Principal Secretary (housing) SVR Srinivas, SRA CEO Satish Lokhande has requested the state to include SRA developers as well. His letter is in response to BJP MLA Mihir Kotecha’s letter highlighting how projects are in abeyance and developers are not able to pay rent to slum-dwellers.
Currently, 370 SRA projects are stalled due to cash crunch. Earlier this year, the state had also announced a ‘lien’ scheme to bailout cash-strapped SRA projects. Under this scheme, developers who don’t have money to pay premium and development charges can lien flats from their sale component and go ahead with construction.
Kotecha, who has also written to Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar, said, “It’s a double whammy for redevelopment slums with the Covidinduced slowdown and the absence of instalment facilities. Builders of SRA projects should have been the first ones to get the facility as they have to pay rents to slum-dwellers.”
For developers making buildings up to 70 metre, the BMC allows payment in five instalments – 10 per cent in the first instalment and 22.5 per cent each in the remaining four instalments. There are six instalments for buildings taller than 70 metres – 10 per cent in the first instalment, and 18 per cent each in the remaining five instalments.
Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad admitted the disparity in the premium payment facility. “Among the BMC, MHADA and the SRA, the latter is the most important as it carries out slum rehabilitation. I will talk to UD minister Eknath Shinde and UD Principal Secretary Bhushan Gagrani to amend the September 2019 letter and add SRA to the list,” Awhad said, adding, “This is bad in law. We will try and resolve this.”
Meanwhile, the government has still not acted on the recommendations of the Deepak Parekh committee that suggested a 50 per cent waiver on premiums and charges for developers across the state. The committee had stated that the premiums – for enhanced FSI, TDR, second staircase, and additional features like open space deficiencies – are considerably higher in Mumbai as compared to other cities. However, the BMC had argued that the move would significantly reduce its revenues.