In a BID to boost transparency in the redevelopment of old and dilapidated buildings in the city, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has ordered officials to create an exhaustive database of all buildings paying a cess to the state government’s repair board, using Geographical Information System, Google Earth and Google Maps, and to put this data in the public domain.
At a meeting with senior officials of the Housing Department and Minister of State for Housing Sachin Ahir on Monday, Chavan said such a database would improve transparency and also stem corruption in the process of redeveloping cessed buildings. “The Chief Minister has ordered a creation of a complete map of all buildings paying a repair cess to the repair board of the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority,” said Ahir.
“The idea is that while there have been many developers who have shown interest in the redevelopment of these buildings, the work hasn’t been going as fast as expected,” he added. Chavan reportedly said that once scientific data of the number of cessed buildings in every municipal ward, the area occupied by each building, the number of tenants, area occupied by each tenant and details of cess paid is made available online, more developers will come forward.
There are between 15,000-16,000 cessed buildings that remain, with several hundred buildings redeveloped in the past few years. Most of these structures are dilapidated and a few hundred make it to an annual pre-monsoon list of structures declared unsafe for human habitation each year.
A senior government official said the motive is not only to boost interest among developers who may already possess such information but also to make this information easily accessible and transparent. “Compiling such an exhaustive list will help freeze the number of tenants, no more inflation of tenants’ lists can be conducted at the time of going in for redevelopment,” the official said. “Even if tenancies have changed hands, the total number of units to be built for rehabilitation will not be altered.” Since 1996, no new tenancies have been permitted in the cessed buildings.
Also, with the cluster redevelopment of cessed buildings still to take off in a big way, the state government hopes such a database alongside clear Google Earth pictures will show prospective developers and government officials where clusters are possible. Ahir said further incentives for cluster redevelopment may also be possible in the future.