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Realty projects on Mumbai forest land get SC nod

Real-estate construction stuck up under the Maharashtra Private Forest (Acquisition) Act since 2006 has now got a green signal from the Supreme Court, but further development will be possible only after a nod from the ministry of environment and forests

The Supreme Court of India has given a green signal to real-estate construction in Maharashtra for residential and commercial properties stuck under the Maharashtra Private Forest (Acquisition) Act, on Wednesday. But developers have to still wait for the clearance from the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) before going ahead with construction or selling of projects in these forest lands.

“It is not an interim approval to all the projects built on forest land. It is only certain sections at Nahur and Bhandup which have got the green signal. Projects in Borivali, Goregaon and Kandivali (all Mumbai suburbs) still have to wait for clearance from the legal body,” said Pankaj Kapoor, founder, Liases Foras.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices Deepak Verma and B S Chauhan said that the interim order allowing construction activity is subject to the outcome of the pending petitions before it.

 The Maharashtra Private Forest (Acquisition) Act came into force on August 30, 1975. Under the Act, land categorised as a ‘private forest’ could be acquired by the forest department to conserve forests.

 Earlier, developers ignored the legislation till the Bombay Environment Action Group, a non-government organisation, filed a complain in the High Court stating that the state was ignoring the law and was not taking any action to acquire the 305 plots, that the state forest department had notified. 
      
In 2006, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had issued a stop-work notice to the projects on these plots, but a few developers went ahead with their projects.

“The developers have got a sign of relief from the judgement passed by the Supreme Court but have to wait for the MoEF’s decision. The MoEF will take some time to give a go-ahead to such projects. There will be proper due diligence. The developers have to wait till MoEF responds,” said Subhankar Mitra, AVP—strategic consulting, Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj.

Earlier, the court had already announced that the developers had to pay a net present value (NPV) as a penalty  for their properties. It also appointed a central empowered committee (CEC) to suggest a solution to this issue. The CEC recommended that residents living in houses constructed before 22 June 2005 pay an NPV of Rs8 to Rs12 per square foot for regularisation, while builders whose projects were completed before this date, but have not yet been given occupation certificates, pay five times the NPV—Rs40 to Rs60 per square foot. Builders who wanted to redevelop factories and commercial establishments into residential complexes were asked to pay an NPV of Rs80 to Rs120 per square foot.

“The judgement of the court was in favour of the customers who had booked their properties long time back but could not own them due to the litigation. At least, consumers will not feel that the developer has cheated them. Developers have got a positive signal from the legal body and we expect the MoEF will soon give the clearance,” said Mayur Shah, chief, sales business unit, Ackruti City Ltd.

According to media reports, there are about 150 large projects being constructed over about 200 acres of forest land in the city by builders, with a market value of Rs25,000 crore.

“It is a great relief for developers and a lot of actual users,” said Dharmesh Jain, chairman and managing director, Nirmal Lifestyle.

However, sounding a note of caution, Parimal K Shroff from Parimal K Shroff & Co, said, “It is an interim order which has been passed by the Supreme Court. The court has permitted a few people to pay the NPV in a certain period of time. Thereafter, the decision will be taken by the CEC appointed by the court.”
 

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    COMMENTS

    abhay shah

    8 years ago

    plz send me the updates of this issue. its a humble request. thank you

    Luke

    1 decade ago

    These houses must be demolished. Tomorrow the excuse is that there is no space in the villages and the whole nation should descend on us here in Bombay. The resources [Trees, Water bodies and open land] dont belong to migrants. They belong to natives. Thus depriving their rights to the forest for a livelihood.
    Tomorrow the lakes will be destroyed to make way for the migrants who have a greed for the glitzy lifestyle here in Bombay. The court must take back its order and ask the builders to pay back the customers money. Only then the law of the land will prevail.

    REPLY

    Manisha

    In Reply to Luke 1 decade ago

    Whoever u are, advising to demolish the houses, should know the actual situation first. No citizen should end up paying their lifetime of savings for the mistakes done at state governments end. They have been making loads of money in the name of taxes, registration,stamp duty for years and now they want to make forest between two non forest areas. How ironic......

    neetu

    1 decade ago

    please give me the latest update on the same issue

    REPLY

    malathi krishnan

    In Reply to neetu 9 years ago

    Please join facebook group "Mumbai forest land" for the latest on this issue. Also sign online petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/bdri1234/p...
    to resolve the forest issue.

    shilpesh

    1 decade ago

    please send me regular updates on this subject . it is a kind request. thank you

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