BMC, MMRDA in a tussle over rehabilitation



MUMBAI: The state government’s ambitious monorail and Metro projects could temporarily go off the track because the implementing agencies, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), are not able to arrive on a consensus over the future of the families affected by the projects.

The bone of contention is six BMC plots that the MMRDA needs to construct car sheds, yards and stations for the 32-km-long Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd route.

However, the BMC refuses to give up the land until MMRDA comes up with a comprehensive rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) policy for the 1,200 project-affected families, who are a large vote-bank for the Shiv Sena-BJP ruled BMC. Despite a desperate plea made by MMRDA officials on Wednesday, the BMC’s improvements committee threatened to re-align proposed projects on its plots unless a fresh baseline survey is conducted and 1995-datum line is applied to it.

The state’s policy is to apply 2000 as the cut-off year for mega projects. “Since we can’t leave the future of these families hanging, we could only ask you to change alignment,” said chairman of the committee Bhalchandra Shirsat. MMRDA officials said that changing alignment would cost them Rs 200 crore for every altered kilometre length. This would affect the viability gap funding of the project and derail it completely.

“The R&R policy is not in our control and we could only request the state to consider this case as an exception and set the cut-off date to pre-1995,” said an MMRDA official.

It has been a year since the MMRDA proposals to change reservation of plots were presented to the BMC. On June 26, 2010, the committee deliberated on the proposals which were sent by the state government under Section 37 (1) (aa) of the Development Control Rules ( DCR). The section makes it binding on the corporation to clear any proposal in a stipulated time-frame. The MMRDA also wants to construct an underground car depot under the stables at Mahalaxmi race course.

The BMC had refused to give up the land until MMRDA comes up with a rehabilitation and resettlement policy for project-affected families.