Around half-a-dozen housing societies in Mumbai, have got the go-ahead for self-redevelopment from the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA), an official has revealed. The Mumbai District Central Cooperative Bank (MDCCB) has also sanctioned loans to eight societies, a MHADA official said, adding that around 500 housing societies have shown interest in redeveloping their old flats.
Over 30,000 residential buildings in the megacity are 30 to 80 years’ old and in need of redevelopment. Saidham Society (building No 149) at Pant Nagar in suburban Ghatkopar, has secured 80 per cent approval of works from MHADA and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The society’s secretary, Shripad Mordekar, said, “Our building is 52 years old and has 32 members. We have got an offer letter from the MHADA for redevelopment and will submit it to the BMC soon. After redevelopment, each house owner would get a 1,000-sq ft flat, against the present 220 sq ft.” Some builders were offering 484-sq ft flats to the society members ‘but after self-redevelopment, each one of us would get a bigger flat’, he said. The society’s plan is to build an 18-storey building, with a Rs 58-crore loan from a cooperative bank, he added.
In the self-redevelopment of an old building, the society’s members reap the construction bonanza, which was earlier enjoyed by the builder. The housing societies appoint their own project management consultants, architects and contractors, to execute the project. The state government had, in 2017, hiked the floor space index (FSI) for redevelopment of MHADA societies, from 2.5 to 3, paving the way for more built-up area in flats. FSI is the ratio of the total built-up area to the total area of a plot. It is basically a tool that defines the extent of construction permissible on a plot.
Chembur-based Chitra Cooperative Housing Society has also decided to go for self-redevelopment, after securing permission for it from the agencies concerned. The society’s secretary, KB Kadam, said they will start the construction work in the next four months. “Our 12-member society was offered 550-sq ft flats each by a builder, against the present flat area of 400 sq ft. However, now we are going to redevelop the apartments on our own and each member would get a flat of 1,300 sq ft and Rs 38 lakhs as corpus fund,” he said.
Ajit Kumar, the secretary of a Goregaon-based housing society, lauded the MDCCB for supporting the residential complexes in their efforts for self-redevelopment of flats. “Our construction work is about 80 per cent done, thanks to the MDCCB, which offered us a loan of Rs 8 crores, for redevelopment,” he said. This would not have been possible, without the bank’s help, as builders had refused to redevelop the building, citing the small size of the plot, Kumar said.
When contacted, state housing minister Prakash Mehta said the government wants societies to come forward and take the initiative of self-redevelopment. “We are there to lend all support within the framework,” the minister said.
Housing activist Chandrashekhar Prabhu, who had launched a campaign for self-redevelopment some years back, said several builders have stalled redevelopment projects across Mumbai, leaving house owners in a lurch. He claimed that some builders have lost credibility, prompting the societies to take up the redevelopment work.
“I am confident that more and more societies will come forward, to reap the benefits of self-redevelopment,” the former MHADA president and town planner said.