Eastern Freeway, which will cut the travel time between the eastern suburbs and south Mumbai to under 25 minutes, does not have the infrastructure to detect traffic violations. In the absence of such an infrastructure, there could be overspeeding and mishaps.
MMRDA will commission about 14 km of the 16.8-km freeway in the last week of this month. However, it has not installed a single CCTV camera on the signal- and toll-free stretch.
“As of now, we have not planned for CCTV cameras or measures to prevent accidents. We will think about that if there are untoward incidents once the freeway is opened and collaborate with traffic police,” said U P S Madan, metropolitan commissioner at MMRDA.
In the first phase, MMRDA will commission a 9.3-km, four-lane elevated road from Orange Gate on P D’Mello Road to Anik near Wadala. It will also open part — four lanes — of the eight-lane Anik-Panjarpol Link Road, which has a 500-metre tunnel. Some of the transportation experts MMRDA took to the freeway a few days ago observed the absence of surveillance cameras could create traffic issues.
“A lot of goods carriers will use the freeway due to its proximity to Mumbai Port Trust and Wadala Truck Terminus. There will be cases of drunk driving, overloading and so on. If there is a breakdown leading to a pile-up, without CCTVs and a control centre it will take long for the authorities to know it,” said Jitendra Gupta, a member of citizens transport committee.
“Opening the freeway without CCTV surveillance is a big risk not only from the point of view of traffic but also from the point of view of security as there are oil company establishments in the vicinity,” he said.
The elevated portion of the freeway overlooks over establishments of Hindustan Petroleum, Bharat Petroleum and Indian Oil. However, MMRDA has put up three-metre barriers to block the view.
PUNE: Flat owners who want to register for deemed conveyance of their housing societies can hope for some relief from paying 1% additional local body cess on the value of flat.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has agreed to look into the matter of this additional burden of 1% local body cess, the collection of which was mandated by the office of Inspector General of Registration (IGR) of the state.
The office of the IGR has been collecting 1% additional cess by way of stamp duty on the documents registered from April 1, 2013 as per the notification issued by the state government. However, the additional cess is being collected under the said notification not only for the new documents registered but also on the conveyance deeds including those documents which are not registered earlier by the old housing societies.
This has caused serious hardship to owners of flats in old housing societies who wanted to complete the formality of conveyance as encouraged by the state’s law on deemed conveyances.
A statement issued by the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India (Credai) Maharashtra said on Wednesday that it has been able to convince the chief minister to look into the issue and offer relief to owners of such flats.
After receiving complaints from several flat owners in this category, Credai engaged in a dialogue with both the chief minister and state revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat to reconsider the levy of such additional cess including on such documents like conveyance deed, second sale of flats and the cost of land. Both have agreed to examine the issue, the statement by the realtors’ body said.
Vice-president, Credai-National Satish Magar, who is the immediate past president of Credai Pune Metro, told TOI that there was absolutely no need to extend the collection of the 1% cess to the old flats. “These buildings were completed many years ago, have obtained the necessary completion certificates and the flat owners are paying municipal taxes. Thus, there is no new transaction that the authorities would be registering,” Magar said.
“As it happens there is poor response from flat owners in old societies to avail of the deemed conveyance route where conveyance deed was not done by developers or builders for any reason. If the state wants to collect money on these deemed conveyance deeds on the basis of current value of the flats, the very purpose of the state’s making a law for deemed conveyance will be defeated, as people will not come forward to finish the conveyance formalities,” Magar said.
A day after political leaders at the BMC including Mayor Sunil Prabhu passed a resolution to cancel the 99-year lease of the Royal Western Indian Turf Club or Mahalaxmi Racecourse, which is up for renewal on May 31, civic chief Sitaram Kunte said the decision cannot be taken by the corporation alone.
The BMC owns only 2.54 lakh sq m of the racecourse’s 8.54 lakh sq m, and must take a call in consultation with the state government, which owns the remaining 6 lakh sq m, Kunte said.
“As the BMC owns only a minor portion of the land co-owned with the state government, the corporation cannot decide on its own that it will not renew the lease,” the commissioner said. He added that the BMC and government had not yet discussed the matter. The civic chief also said the civic administration would take a closer look at the legal cases the club is fighting in Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court. “It has come to our attention that there are some cases pertaining to the racecourse pending in the courts. We will have to take these into account while making a decision,” he said.
PROPERTY prices in the city could go up further, with BMC considering a proposal to bring construction activity under the purview of local body tax (LBT). BMC proposes to charge LBT from builders on per square metre basis.
As per the proposal, for every floor up to four storeys, LBT will be Rs 100 per sq m. For a building without an elevator, it will be Rs 150 per sq m up to seven floors. Beyond seven floors, LBT will be Rs 200 per sq m. “The proposal is at a nascent stage. We will call for suggestions from organisations, including the construction industry. There is no specific mandate to tax builders as of now, but there is an option to amend LBT rules,” a senior BMC official said.
Santosh Dalvi, partner at KPMG and indirect tax expert, said levying LBT on constructions could be a mechanism to simplify tax calculation.
“Builders anyway import raw material such as cement and sand. So, instead of taxing every individual consignment, BMC is looking at taxing the end product,” said Dalvi. BMC will, however, have to iron out the concept to avoid double taxation in case developers are purchasing raw material locally from a company importing them.
Construction companies are yet to hear from BMC on the proposal, but builders have started opposing the move. They contend that multiple taxes have pushed up property prices. “We pay for fungible FSI and development charges. This new tax will put more burden on the real estate industry. It will ultimately be passed on to the consumer,” said Mayur Shah, managing director, Marathon Group, a developer.
Vimal Shah, managing director, Hubtown (earlier known as Ackruti Developers), agreed that the government should draw a line beyond which it should not tax the real estate industry. “This is a crucial concern if the government wants affordable housing for the common man,” said Shah.
Pankaj Kapoor, founder and managing director of Liases Foras, a real estate rating and research firm, said, “If the government taxes the construction industry further, it is killing whatever little incentive the sector has to remain in business.”
Traders have been protesting LBT for almost a week now.
Property prices up 66% in 4 years: Report
A report by real estate consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle says Mumbai has seen a sharp rise in property prices in the past four years. “Over the past four years, property valuations in the financial capital have increased by an average of 66 per cent,” said Ramesh Nair, managing director, West, JLL (India). The rise was 52 per cent in Gurgaon and 46 per cent in Bangalore.
The Malad-Borivali belt has seen the highest increase of 85 per cent, while in south Mumbai, it has been the lowest at 42 per cent. “The primary reasons for Mumbai’s ‘unreal’ price movements is the limited supply of ‘clear’ land,” said Nair. Yet another reason is the reduction in new launches during this period, says the report. The price rise is also attributed to the civic body changing construction norms through new Development Control Rules (DCR), hints the report. “The new DCR rules caused many projects to come to a grinding halt as developers and architects struggled to adapt projects to a new set of mandatory norms,” it said.
Bombay High Court last week turned down petitions questioning the constitutional validity of sections of the Maharashtra Slum Areas (Improvement, Clearance and Redevelopment) Act, 1971 (the Slum Act) that refer to the government’s power to acquire land housing and/or adjoining a slum for redevelopment and compensation for land owners.
“Acquisition of lands under the provisions of the Slum Act is not merely for the benefit of a large number of persons residing in sub-human conditions in slums, but also to ensure that improvement of their living conditions will lead to improvement of the urban economy, which is very much dependent upon the labour force being supplied by the occupants of hutments in slums,” Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Anoop Mohta said in their 57-page order.
A group of petitions was filed by persons aggrieved by the state government’s notices to acquire their land after terming the plots “slums” under section 14 of the Act. They had been served with notices between 1977 and 1998. They contended that the section grants “unfettered” power to the state government as there is no provision to hear them, pass a reasoned order or file an appeal before a judicial or quasi-judicial authority.
The petitioners also contested section 17 that allegedly awards an “illusory” compensation to land owners. They submitted a table the court, citing cases in which the government acquired 1,575 sq m of land in Bandra and paid Rs 2.16 lakh as compensation to owner Sara D’Mello and 6,438 sq m of land in Parel, for which the owner Nensi Monji received a compensation of Rs 34,992.
Arguing for the state government, senior counsel E P Bharucha, however, told the court that the payment of land’s market value to the owners who allowed a slum to thrive on it would defeat the purpose of the Act.
According to section 17 (3) of the Act, the owner of slum land receives compensation at 60 times the net average monthly income derived from the land over five consecutive years immediately preceding the date of the notice for acquisition issued under section 14 of the Act.
The Slum Rehabilitation Authority told the court that “the valuation showed in the ready reckoner of the lands in question is only of the open land on which there is no encumbrance. Hence, the valuation in ready reckoner cannot be treated as valuation of land which is already encroached upon.”
The court said if the land owner is aggrieved by the compensation amount, there is the alternative to file an appeal in the Slum tribunal.
MUMBAI: Observing that the public parking space coming up along with a 56-storey building in central Mumbai was not illegal, the Bombay High Court on Monday asked the municipal commissioner to reconsider grant of Floor Space Index (FSI) and other issues pertaining to the building.
A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice N M Jamdar was hearing a PIL filed by city-based NGO Janhit Manch alleging illegalities in sanctions given for the construction of ‘Palais Royale’ building and the adjacent public parking lot in Worli.
The 56-storey residential building, supposed to be the tallest building in Mumbai, is being constructed by Shree Ram Urban Infrastructure Ltd (SRBIL).
The court, however, held that there was no illegality in the permissions granted to the public parking lot.
“The public parking lot cannot be held illegal as contended by the petitioner and the Respondent No 5 (SRBIL) cannot be deprived from claiming incentive FSI accrued therefrom for the residential building,” the bench said.
It, however, held that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will have to reconsider and rework the entire issue of FSI to be granted to SRBIL.
“We cannot sit with a magnifying glass and scrutinise every inch of the planning permission granted. In the circumstances, instead of we adjudicating the issue regarding the exact calculation of FSI and the area, an exercise which entails specialised knowledge of planning requirements, it will be appropriate if the commissioner is directed to reconsider the issue,” the court said.
The bench held that the FSI granted in respect of the refuge area was excessive. “We direct the commissioner to reexamine the said issue and rework the FSI accordingly,” the court said.
“As far as the issue of passages, entrance, swimming pool, area over deck and refuge area at the entrance level is concerned, since the corporation has accepted that the FSI under these heads were erroneously granted, the said aspect will be reconsidered by the commissioner,” the court said.
Inspired by cities such as New York and Melbourne, BMC has undertaken a branding exercise for Mumbai. It has come up with the official theme, ‘Majhi Mumbai’ (My Mumbai), and a logo to go with it.
“Mumbai is a combination of Mumba Devi, a popular local goddess, and aai, which is the Marathi word for mother. ‘Majhi Mumbai’ denotes the feeling of motherhood that the city has towards those who live here,” said Bhupal Ramnathkar, founder and president of Umbrella Design, the firm that was appointed for the branding exercise.
The logo, which is a combination of black, orange and blue, has an enclosed oval motif denoting a mother’s arm carrying a child. “The city has always nurtured everyone with motherly love,” said Rahul Shewale, standing committee chairman and Shiv Sena corporator.
This logo, along with the current one, will be used in every official and unofficial work of BMC. The new logo will be used at various places, ranging from letterheads, communication, installations such as flags, pillars, signboards, dustbins, awareness campaigns and major tourist spots.
The logo also encloses orange leaves that denote unity, friendship, happiness, beauty and progress, said Ramnathkar. They have also used blue, which symbolizes the vastness and depth of the sky and sea, a characteristic that the city has, he added.
“The colours represent passion and zeal of this city. Blue symbolises the plethora of opportunities that Mumbai offers. It also conveys the richness of relationships and togetherness. Orange also signifies the rising sun and the victory over odds,” says a presentation of the BMC.
“The design personifies Mumbai’s culture, heritage, ideology, industrial strength and achievements in business,” said Shewale.
Interestingly, each of the 24 wards spread will get a fresh identity by way of separate colour codes. “This colour will be the highlight of that ward. With the extensive use of a specific colour, people will be able to identify each ward. This also gives a feeling of oneness and at the same time, imparts individual identity to a ward and its people,” said Shewale.
While Sena strongholds of Dadar and Worli have been assigned saffron, the posh Bandra west ward has been assigned a vibrant pink.
Bombay High Court (HC) ordered BMC Friday to stop depositing solid waste on wetlands and mangroves at the Kanjurmarg dump.
Referring to a permission of the ministry of environment and forests for dumping activity on 65.96 hectares, a division bench of justices D Y Chandrachud and A A Sayed said, “Now we are convinced BMC has evaded law. It is now crystal clear.”
HC was responding to a set of PILs seeking better adherence to regulations with respect to dumping grounds across the state.
At the previous hearing Thursday, it had questioned if the corporation “has concern for environment and people”. It had asked BMC to state whether there was dumping outside the allotted area.
Friday, BMC counsel S U Kamdar there was no such activity. However, HC noted in its order, “Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board have found serious violations on part of BMC.”
The judges recorded that the violations pertained to change in technology of solid waste disposal and degradation of a patch of mangroves as a result of blocking of tidal waters.
In November last year, HC had ordered a stay on dumping at Kanjurmarg, citing environmental concerns. The stay was lifted two weeks later after BMC cited an order of Supreme Court allowing the land at Kanjurmarg to be used for dumping.
Deputy municipal commissioner in-charge of solid waste management Prakash Patil said, “Whatever the court verdict is, we will obey it. We have yet to receive the order in writing. When we do, we will see what needs to be done, but we have told the court and shown proof that we are not dumping on wetlands or mangroves.”
Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) draft guidelines reiterating restrictions on redevelopment in Marine Drive precinct that were submitted to BMC recently have met with stiff opposition from residents in the area.
The guidelines formed in 2003 divide the precinct into five sub-sections — Ocean Drive, Backbay, Queens Road, Gymkhanna and Chowpatty.
The guidelines say buildings within a sub-precinct will have to roughly maintain existing height even after redevelopment to prevent change in its character. Parking can be created only in basements, glass windows must be encased in wooden frames, balconies of Art Deco buildings must be left open and road widening is prohibited.
However, exemptions to buildings such as Ambassador Hotel and International Students Hostel have angered residents.
“The committee has made random exemptions. Even with incentives, the guidelines are impractical. If buildings in other parts of the precinct can be redevelop, we want that option too,” said Kawal Shahipuri, joint director of Marine Drive Residents Association.
As most buildings in the precinct are over 75 years old, maintenance cost is high.
“Every year, each flat spends over Rs 1.2 lakh on maintenance and repairs. For the third time in 2012, my building was re-plastered and we have found more problem areas. How many more years can we keep this up? The brickwork is weakening,” Shahipuri said.
Residents are also opposed to curbs on redeveloping buildings with stilt parking.
“We have major road congestion caused by double parking. This is worsened by the proximity of Wankhede Stadium. In the event of a fire, fire engines find it difficult to access the building,” said Mahendra Hemdev, resident of a building on B Road in Gymkhana precinct.
MHCC chairman V Ranganathan said, “We have created sub-precincts to maintain character and homogenity of the area. Parking in basements of buildings should ease congestion. Residents can renovate interiors of buildings in such a way to allow more parking so long as facades are maintained. Allowing road-widening would mean breaking building walls which will ruin the heritage value of the well-planned precinct.”
Shahipuri countered: “What is the point of maintaining beauty when there is no utility to it.”
MUMBAI: In a relief to Siddhivinayak Realties- a joint venture between Oberoi Realty, and founders of D B Realty Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka, the Bombay High Court has set aside the arbitration order in Tulip Star Hotel case which will pave the way for the real-estate company to develop the land parcel.
In a further development though, ET has learnt that Ajit Kerkar-controlled V Hotels has decided to move the division bench. “We are going to challenge the order in higher courts under the Arbitration Act of 1996,” said Hiroo Advani, managing partner of Advani & Co that is representing V Hotels.
In an order passed in favor of Siddhivinayak Realties, Justice RD Dhanuka noted, ” In my view, arbitrator has to decide in accordance with the provisions of contract entered into between the parties and has to decide it in accordance with substantive law,”
“The impugned award however, in my view, being contrary to the provisions of Master Asset Purchase Agreement (MAPA) and contrary to contract Act and ignoring the material piece of evidence laid by parties and is patently illegal and thus warrants interference of this Court under Section 34 of the Arbitration Act,” said the order.
Earlier in July 2011 , an arbitration panel ruled against Siddhivinayak Realties and asked V Hotels, the current owner of the property, to refund 73 crore to Siddhivinayak within 90 days. The joint venture firm is being represented by ParimalK Shroff& Co.
Siddhivinayak Realties challenged the arbitration award that directed V Hotels, owner of Centaur Hotel, to repay Rs 73 crore deposited to develop the property in 2005. V Hotel’s contention was that there were concrete grounds on which the arbitrator had allowed termination of the agreement.
In 2005, Siddhivinayak Realties had agreed to purchase Centaur Hotel from Ajit Kerkar, former chief of Indian Hotels, and the Tulip Group, which had bought it when the government divested.
In 2005, Siddhivinayak Realtieshad agreed to purchase the hotel from Ajit Kerkar and the Tulip Group for a price of around 300 crore. Following this, the company had submitted 73 crore to Tulip along with 2 crore in an escrow account.
Earlier, the property known as Centaur Hotel was acquired by Kerkar and the Tulip Group from Air India’s subsidiary, Hotel Corporation of India, during the privatisation exercise undertaken by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government. However, a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry was launched in this regard following some allegations of corruption in the sale process.
On the date of judgment, shares of Oberoi Realty closed at 233.45 on the BSE, up 0.13% while the stock of DB Realty closed 1.63% down at Rs 69. 25.