Builders wait for BMC chief Subodh Kumar to go

Mumbai Bmc

From:The Times of India

A section of Mumbai‘s developers, hit hard by the tough new building rules, will heave a sigh of relief when municipal commissioner Subodh Kumar retires this month-end. They are hoping for a pliable and lenient successor, who will listen to their woes.

The amended Development Control Rules (DCR) approved by the state government last January drastically reduced profit margins of unscrupulous builders, who misused building concessions offered to them by successive municipal commissioners.

New rules plugged loopholes and left no scope for manipulation. The BMC has now been empowered to levy a hefty premium on builders, who want to utilise 35% extra area for residential projects and 20% for commercial projects. “They have been biding their time and are not submitting their building plans till the commissioner retires,” said sources in the industry.

A prominent builder who sold more than 100 flats in his Kalina project even before work commenced is one of those believed to be badly hit because of the new DCR. “Flat purchasers have been chasing him since the past one year and he has posted musclemen at his office to keep them out,” said sources. This developer is hopeful of getting the building plans sanctioned after Kumar leaves.

Civic officials said it would be very difficult to manipulate the new rules in favour of any builder even if the BMC got an “amenable” commissioner. “No civic chief can tinker with the rules as they are now cast in stone,” they said.

Most builders find Kumar brusque, adamant and someone who refuses to budge from his position. Two weeks ago, he told builders that “any change unsettles everyone initially”. Kumar, who crafted the new policy, gently chided architects for their “creative designs” which led to major manipulations in the past.

Initial confusion over the implementation of the new policy had builders bitterly complaining that project files were stuck and junior-level officials were unable to decide on them. But the BMC said as many as 32 building proposals have been cleared since the new rules came into force.

Officials said the building approvals process has been streamlined and files are being cleared at a much faster rate. They said that once the project file is dispatched from the zonal office to the municipal commissioner, it takes barely 10 days for the final approval.

Last month, Mayfair Housing paid a premium of Rs 2.78 crore to the BMC and became the first developer in Mumbai to get its plans approved under the modified regulation for its project, Mayfair Kumkum, at SV Road, Andheri (W).

But real estate industry sources said that the 32 projects approved were all old proposals which were sent back to the drawing board by the BMC after the new policy was announced by the state government last January.

“Virtually no new proposal has been submitted to the BMC. The ones approved were old building plans redesigned as per the new policy,” said a leading architect.

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