Marathon MCZMA meetings to take up 200 CRZ cases

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Marathon MCZMA meetings to take up 200 CRZ cases

Authority to meet for five weeks from June 7

Anarock ’s Prashant Thakur says the inordinate delay in getting multiple clearances is one of the major factors impacting real estate projects.

MUMBAI: Faced with the criticism that realtors’ applications for coastal regulation zone (CRZ) clearances have been inordinately delayed, the Maharashtra Coastal Regulatory Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) has decided to hold marathon meetings from June 7 to take up about 200 pending cases.

The MCZMA has listed in all 197 applications related to commencement certificates (CC) for discussion via video conferencing during the meetings scheduled for every Monday from June 7 to July 4. The Authority has uploaded the agenda which apparently brought smiles on the faces of real estate developers.

The builders would apply for CC with the respective local planning authorities once they get the CRZ nod. The certificate is necessary for starting construction of any building and developers would not like to risk applying for post-facto clearances, said a top realtor. He cited the Supreme Court order to demolish waterfront buildings with 350 apartments at Maradu in Ernakulam district as the builders violated CRZ rules.

The inordinate delay in getting multiple clearances is one of the major factors impacting real estate projects, said Prashant Thakur, Sr. Director & Head – Research, ANAROCK Group.

This invariably stalls delivery of projects which in turn impacts lakhs of homebuyers, Thakur said and stressed: Therefore, it is imperative that the government puts its act together and paces up its approval activity.

An Office Memorandum (OM) from the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Control (MOEFCC) to the States to facilitate post-fact clearance of projects. The Bombay and Madurai High Courts, in separate cases, have however stayed the operation of the MOEFCC memorandum.

“We have been waiting with bated breath for quite long,” said a realtor who did not want to be quoted since “my application is pending and it is not fair”.

Of the applications to be taken up by MCZMA, 96 are from Mumbai alone and about 30 from Navi Mumbai, as per the agenda.

Realtors’ apex body CREDAI MCHI has taken up the issue of pending CRZ clearances with the government. Led by its vice president Domnic Romell, the apex body team met Environment Principal Secretary Manisha Patankar-Mhaiskar recently and obtained an assurance that the MCZMA would meet frequently to take up all pending applications.

Manisha, who is also the chairperson for the Authority, promised the developers’ team that the meetings would be held once a week to take up the backlog.

Environmentalists have expressed the hope that the MCZMA would thoroughly study the applications and not take any decision in haste. The Authority ought to analyse each application on merit, said NatConnect Foundation director B N Kumar.

“Our apprehensions arise from the fact that the Authority has given clearance for a golf course project on NRI-TS Chanakya Wetlands at Nerul in Navi Mumbai based on a wrong certificate from CIDCO,” pointed out Sunil Agrawal of Save Navi Mumbai Environment Committee. This happened despite a Bombay High Court verdict striking down the golf course as well as a residential project adjoining it in November 2018, Agrawal said.

As per ANAROCK Research, altogether, approx. 6.29 lakh homes are either completely stalled or languishing across the top 7 cities. At least 71% (approx. 4.49 lakh) of these delayed or stuck units fall within the price-sensitive INR 80 lakh budget range. Just 18% fall in the premium segment, and another 11% in the luxury category.

Launched in 2014 or before, the total value of these stuck/delayed housing stock exceeds INR 5.05 lakh Crore. Nearly 28% (approx. 1,73,730) of these units are completely stalled. MMR comprises 28% of the total stuck/delayed stock whose approx. value is INR 1,52,105 Cr. MMR is second only to NCR in the number of stuck/delayed housing units in the top 7 cities. There are various reasons for the delay including COVID-19, funding issues, litigations and approvals.

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