Slum Rehabilitation Schemes
What is the Role of SRA (Slum Rehabilitation Authority)scheme?
The administration has created a working model for Public – Private – Partnership in slum rehabilitation wherein, the redevelopments include market rate housing for new buyers as well as cross – subsidised apartment blocks for the original slum dwellers.
The government’s key policy intervention to facilitate slum redevelopment is a change in the land development regulations to allow for an increased density of redevelopment in city’s slums. The increase in the permitted intensity of redevelopment helps to generate the cross subsidy for slum dwellers.
Are slum rehabilitation Schemes lucrative for developers?
SRA schemes provide an innovative cross – subsidy to private developer in slum rehabilitation scheme. Sale component equal to 0.75 times the rehabilitation component in city areas; equal to rehabilitation component in suburbs and extended suburbs and equal to 1.33 times the rehabilitation component in difficult areas is allowed. So, yes, it seems to be quite lucrative.
Why developers are reluctant to take up rehabilitation projects?
One of the major issues in rehabilitation projects is getting the site cleared from the slum dwellers, even after obtaining 70% of consent from them. Though law has become stringent on this and the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Balasaheb Arjun Torbole and Ors. Vs. The Administrator and Divisional Commissioner and Orshad dismissed appeals from slum dwellers stating that “SRA is competent to approve scheme once 70% or more of slum dwellers of such area has given their consent” but still the developers find it very difficult to take the physical possession of the area for development since there are various religious and other sentiments connected to the place.
Another difficulty the developers face is giving temporary shelter to the dwellers as the construction work takes a couple of years and it becomes very difficult to accommodate huge number of families.
What more can Government do for the successful implementation of SRA scheme?
One of the major incentives being considered is allowing builders to mortgage public land and raise loans. As the encroached land is valued at 25% of its ready reckoner value, which is exactly how much the builder pays while executing the SRA scheme, hence, there’s no harm allowing them to raise loans on it, if it helps the project.
The government is also considering funding as much as 40% of the project cost for infeasible projects. Terming it as ‘viability gap funding’ (VGF), sections of the government feel such funding would make it possible for builders to carry out projects that “don’t have high profits attached”. And to give these incentives, the SRA is coming up with a mechanism to determine the ‘feasibility’ of a scheme.
What amendments can be made in laws to further facilitate SRA schemes?
The Union Ministry of Environment (MoEF) needs to modify the stringent Coastal Regulations Zone (CRZ) norms so as to allow for such development on the salt pan land that currently falls under the highly protected CRZ 1 zone.
Presently, SRA schemes are only applicable to slums on state government and public land. However, several parcels of lands belonging to central government and its many agencies such as the Railways, Defence and Port trust continue to be occupied by slums with no clear policy on its redevelopment.
Is the Government’s dream of ‘Slum-free Maharashtra by 2022’ real?
All it needs is a good and proper planning and co-ordination between the government agencies and the slum dwellers and definitely we need more stringent laws in this regard for the speedy and uninterrupted execution of SRA Projects. Prevention is better than cure and therefore rehabilitation should be accepted as a challenge. In short, the conception of Slum Free State will not be a dream in the future if we consider the problems.
Advocate Sudhir Mishra,
Founder & Managing Partner