Analysis: Will the pace of reconstruction of the old Thane increase? What is the challenge? ThePipaNews

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ThePipaNews

Nilesh Panmand

It is expected that the redevelopment of old, official buildings in the central part of Thane city, known as Old Thane, will pick up pace in the coming years. There are hundreds of such buildings in Naupada, Uthalsar, Pachapkhadi, Railway Station areas. After many years of setbacks, this redevelopment has now reached a critical stage. Narrow roads in the building area, stalled seven-time amendment process and some conditions of the state’s new integrated development control and promotion rules have been hampering the redevelopment of the old police station for the past few years. Even though the state government has cleared the way for redevelopment by revising the rules, the roadblocks to this redevelopment do not seem to be stopping. With Eknath Shinde getting the post of chief minister for the first time in Thane district, the old Thanekars hope that this trend will stop now.

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In Old Thane, the buildings stand next to each other. In some places the road is six meters wide. Nine meters of road reconstruction was the condition. The extra carpet area available through transfer of development rights could not be used for redevelopment as the road was not so wide. So there were many financial challenges in the process as this redevelopment was not profitable. A proposal was made to the Thane Municipal Corporation in July 2018 to remove this nine meter road barrier. The Municipal Corporation has decided to increase the road width from 6 meters to 9 to 12 meters. In Old Thane, 21 roads were proposed to be widened by nine meters. The state government’s approval has paved the way for the reconstruction of the buildings, but new questions are also being raised.

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How important is the width of the road and the height of the building?

To promote the reconstruction of old dilapidated and dangerous buildings in Thane city, the municipal corporation has changed the 6 meter road to 9 meter in the development plan. But in the new Integrated Development Control and Promotion Regulations (Unified DCPR) announced by the state government, the old 6 meter road rule for redevelopment of buildings has now been enforced to 9 metres. Due to this regulation, a 24 meter high building can be constructed along a 9 meter road. Buildings of more than seven stories cannot stand at 24 meters. Earlier, for resale of vulnerable buildings, a total of two FSIs were available for free with incentives of double the existing land or one and a half times the built up area. But in the new regulation, the same i.e. 1.10 mat area index was given for resale of vacant land and vulnerable buildings.

Developers had to pay for the increased mat area. After constructing the building on the vacant plot, the developer sold all his flats. But, in redeveloping a dangerous building, the developer builds apartments for tenants and owners and sells the remaining apartments. No one is coming forward for resale of such buildings as there is not much profit. As soon as this issue came to the fore, the then Urban Development Minister and current Chief Minister Eknath Shinde changed these conditions in the new Integrated Development Control and Promotion Regulations and it opened the way for redevelopment.

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Buildings were constructed during the Gram Panchayat period in Naupada, Pachapakhadi, Kopari, Chendani, Uthalsar, Khopat areas of old Thane. These buildings are now more than 45 years old and have become dangerous. Many of these buildings were vacated and some of them demolished by the municipality. Many residents of these buildings are living elsewhere on rent. Residents of many buildings choose developers and commission them to renovate their buildings. But the lands of some such societies were written in handwritten agricultural records on seven bar slopes. It was not computerized. Also prohibited is the Seventh Amendment process. Hence their proposal for reconstruction was not approved.

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Ashawari community in Naupada area of ‚Äč‚ÄčThane faced similar problem. Members of this society and Swapnil Marathe of Trimiti Developers, Devdatta Joshi along with former housing minister Jitendra Awad have brought this matter to the notice of district administration as well as tehsil office and initiated follow up to resolve the issue. After one and a half to two years of follow-up, the proposal sent by the Tehsil Office has been approved by the Jamabandi Commissioner and now the process of online seven times registration has started. Along with the Asawari Society, 1398 buildings have benefited from this decision and the road to reconstruction of these buildings has been eased.

How about the internal metro project?

The Municipal Corporation’s planned internal metro project for internal public transport in Thane city is yet to receive approval from the central and state governments. Out of total 29 km of this metro, 26 km will be elevated and 3 km will be underground. 20 elevated and 2 subway stations will be constructed on this circular route. The route is planned through old Thane inner city, Wagle Estate, Vartaknagar and Ghodbunder. But this project has hindered the reconstruction of Old Thane. The reason given by the municipal corporation is that construction of buildings cannot be allowed due to the subway of the project and it has affected more than 50 buildings in Naupada and Thane station areas.

Citizens are frustrated as reconstruction of buildings has stopped. Some residents have given the buildings for reconstruction and these residents are being rented houses by the respective developers. But as soon as it became known that the building will not be redeveloped, preparations for closing the house rent began. In this context, BJP MLA Sanjay Kelkar met Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and discussed with him. Also, BJP MLA Niranjan Daukhar drew attention to this issue through an interesting notice in the Legislative Council. Keeping in mind the importance of the matter, table chairman Prasad Lad ordered a special meeting to be convened in the chairman’s hall. At the same time, in this regard, it has been agreed to immediately initiate the process of formation of coordination committee of local legislators along with local mayor, urban development secretary, executive director of Mahametro. As a result, the trunk of the inner metro project will also be moved soon in the way of redevelopment.

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