India is on an accelerated path of urbanisation and several Indian cities face the challenge of housing their growing population, especially the urban poor. Much of the population is forced to live in slum settlements, especially in large cities like Mumbai.
As per a 2011 study, 62% of Mumbai's population lives in slums. In fact, the largest slum in Asia, Dharavi is in Mumbai. Several massive slum clusters are also found in the suburbs. In order to combat this, the State of Maharashtra enacted The Maharashtra Slum Areas (Improvement Clearance and Redevelopment) Act, 1971 ("the Slum Act").
Under the Slum Act, the 'Slum Rehabilitation Authority' ("SRA") was formed in the year 1995 which comprised of a Chairperson being the Hon'ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra and a Chief Executive Officer of the Authority being a super time scale IAS Officer along with other members being Ministers, elected members of the State Legislature, Secretaries of the concerned State Government Departments and some non-official members who are experts in the field of building construction, planning, architecture, social services, etc. and tasked to complete all the requirements under the Act including survey and review slums, formulate scheme under section 3-B of the Slum Act known as 'Slum Rehabilitation Scheme'("SRS") for rehabilitation and redevelopment of slums, implementation of such schemes, declaring any area as slum and fit for rehabilitation etc..
Prior to implementing an SRS, the SRA has to declare an area as a 'Slum Area' which means any area which may be a source of danger to the health, safety or convenience of the public of that area, or has no basic amenities, or is overcrowded, or unfit for human habitation or detrimental to the health, safety or convenience of the public. Once this step is completed, an SRS can be initiated.
Every slum structure existing prior to 01/01/1995 is treated as a protected structure and every slum dweller whose name appears in the electoral rolls as on 1st January, 1995 and who continues to stay in the slum is eligible for rehabilitation.
The slum dwellers then get to appoint a Developer for the implementation of the SRS and after checking certain basic details, the Developer is appointed by SRA for the redevelopment project.
What's in it for the Parties?
Once the Developer has been appointed by the slum dwellers and the SRA, all the eligible slum dwellers get a free of cost self-contained unit for their own residence, which is called as the Rehab Component. Since this legislation is meant for the benefit of slum dwellers, they are not permitted to transfer (sell) their flat or create any third-party rights thereon for at least 10 years.
As the Developer puts in resources in the form of money, men and material for construction of free houses for the slum dwellers, the Developer is compensated for his efforts in the form of the Free Sale Component, which can be commercially exploited. The Free Sale component is basically the entire development potential sanctioned by the authority under the Letter of Intent (LOI), after removing the Rehab Component.
Development of SRS
Regulation 33(10) of the Development Control and Promotion Regulation for Greater Mumbai, 2034 governs the development of the SRS.
Briefly stated, the same can be summarized as under:
- Formation of housing society by 51% or more slum dwellers and appointment of a suitable developer, who would demarcate the slum area and execute individual agreements with the slum dwellers.
- Then a proposal enclosing requisite plans, annexures and documents (consents etc.) is submitted by the architect, appointed by the Developer, to SRA.
- Initial scrutiny of the proposal by the sub-engineer along with payment of scrutiny fees. Annexure I, II and III are forwarded to the competent authority for scrutiny and certification.
- After Certification of the Annexure II and III, the Letter of Intent (LOI) with layout plan is issued by the SRA in favour of the Developer and society setting out details of the development potential available for rehabilitation and free sale and the conditions relating to development.
- The Developer provides slum dwellers with either rent money or transit accommodation, as per their option, and then their hutments are demolished.
- Intimation of Approval (IOA) and Commencement Certificate (CC) is given to the first building for work up to plinth level. Construction is done up to plinth level and after checking the plinth dimensions, further permission to carry out construction beyond plinth is granted.
- Then the Developer would construct the Rehab Component after which the allotment would take place as per eligibility. If any units remain, the same would be handed over to the Government free of cost.
- The commencement certificates of the rehab and free sale buildings are granted in proportion to each other. Upon completion of the Rehab Component, list of allotment is prepared.
- Occupancy Certificate (OC) is granted to the Rehab and the Free Sale buildings and rehab tenements are allotted as per the approved list and identity cards are issued by the SRA.
- Lease of rehab and free sale lands (as stated hereunder) is granted in favor of the society of slum dwellers and the society of flat purchasers/developer, respectively. Separate revenue records are created for the rehab land and the free sale land. SRA acts as facilitating agency in case any difficulty arises with the revenue authorities.
Vesting of Land
As per Section 15A of the Slum Act, within 30 (thirty) days of completion of the Rehab Component, the CEO shall declare, by notification in the Official Gazette, that the land vests in the SRA, whether the land belongs to the State Government, BMC, Municipal Council or the MHADA, provided that the SRA obtains a no objection certificate from such land-owning authority. Such land-owning authority shall be entitled to receive compensation from the SRA for such vesting of land. Thereafter, the SRA shall lease the Rehab Land and the Free Sale Land in favor of the society of slum dwellers and the society of flat purchasers, respectively, for a period of 30 (thirty) years, renewable for a further period of 30 (thirty) years.
Apex Grievance Redressal Committee (Erstwhile High Power Committee)
The Committee(s) was constituted by the Government of Maharashtra in 2007 pursuant to the order of the Hon'ble Bombay High Court dated 1st November 2007.
The Committee was formed to ensure that officers of senior rank from different organizations are able to work collectively and in full co-operation with each other, while also ensuring that the matters are dealt with and disposed-off expeditiously and deal with disputes such as eligibility in the SRS, disputes between co-operative housing societies and developer, disputes for not implementing the scheme on time or improper implementation of scheme, disputes regarding Transit Camp, issues regarding the complaints that SRA or any other authority is not taking cognizance of the complaints/problems, disputes between Government, semi government societies and SRA. It consists of (a) Chairman – Principal Secretary, Housing Department, and four other members being (b) Vice President/ MHADA, (c) CEO/SRA Member, (d) Additional Municipal Commissioner Western Suburb, MCGM, (e) Additional Commissioner /MMRDA.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.