Mumbai: Societies with weak structures on collector land ask for cheaper premium for redevelopment

April 21, 2023

MUMBAI: Achintya Joshi, a kala nagar housing society resident in Bandra will have to pay as big as Rs 27 lakh premium and so the other flat owner members in his society to help convert their collector-owned land, that was leased to their society 50 years ago at a very concessional rate, into a freehold or ownership title.

The weakened building structures in the society are to be redeveloped on an urgent basis, says Joshi and such a permission can come only after paying hefty premium of 15% of the Ready Reckoner (RR) rates.

Another society in Chembur, where joshi’s friend Arup Sovani lives, the premium per flat would be around 25% ( approx Rs 45 lakh) as instead of CHS holding the lease initially, it was given to a few residents 50 years ago.

Not just Joshi and Arup alone, over 8 lakh families living in buildings on around 8,000 collector lands in mumbai metro region either under occupancy clause, where residents or a society are just the occupants of the revenue department’s land, or under the leasehold clause wherein the owner of the lands is collector and are given to societies or residents on lease, are badly affected.

Such societies if need to be redeveloped have to own the land to attract builders and strike with them the viable or affordable deals for which occupancy or leaseholds need to be converted into freehold i.e ownership, explains Vikramaditya Dhamdhere, general secretary of Federation of Grantees of Government Lands.

However, to do this, government charges 15 to 25 % premium of the existing ready reckoner rates which are on the higher side in Mumbai. And this all has to be done within a year’s time as these premium rates will go up almost over three times after the period for existing rates expires in march 2024. Dhamdhere said majority societies fall in 15% bracket and the same premium rate for collector lands in nagpur have been at 5% which is discriminatory against people across mumbai region. “If same 5% rate is offered, almost all societies in the metro region will respond quickly to help state earn huge revenue upto Rs 8-10000 crore. This will not only help bring in more real estate investments but also save lives of many whose building structures are in precarious condition,” he said. Meanwhile, additional chief secretary, revenue department, Nitin Kareer said even without a freehold, societies can go for redevelopment and can sell their flats by paying minimal fees to the government. “Only thing is they have to take collector permissions. And considering concessional rates at which lands were given then, 15% of the RR value today for their ownership is not much as against today’s market rates,” he added.

Adding fuel to the fire, state government recently introduced new conditions for conversion of collector’s land to freehold land. Residents allege that the new conditions in the latest gazette notification have been imposed without inviting objections/suggestions from the public. The notification states that societies that were allotted land and did not complete construction within first five years will not be eligible for the conversion of the land. Another condition is that if the premium is over Rs 1 crore, then the proposal for conversion to freehold will be decided by the revenue department. “Why this new red tape? When today’s time is to reduce public interface by bringing in internet based administrative system, it looks deliberate. Even the condition of completing construction of building within 5 years after allotment of land 50 years ago looks irrelevant. In fact it was then people themselves ploughed the marshy lands and refilled them to build structures. We in fact helped state decongest the city.” he said.

Maharashtra Societies Welfare Association president Ramesh Prabhu said residents in these societies are now retired people and charging such a hefty premium from them is sheer injustice. “Government should make it 5% to offer ownership and can later charge fees once society goes for redevelopment. Ideally the deadline for getting lands converted to freehold should have been more given the covid period. And new conditions put across without any hearing should be removed,” prabhu added. Dhamdhere said the federation has already announced that citizens living in societies on collector lands across state, prominently mumbai region, will vote for NOTA if the demand for 5% premium for a longer period is not met with.

  • Published On Apr 21, 2023 at 08:42 AM IST

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