Streamlining approval process for real estate projects has been a key concern area for authorities across different cities. As a step towards this direction the Maharashtra government has given ‘Special Planning Authority’ status to Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) for specific real estate projects. Previously, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) used to provide approvals for the building layouts, commencement certificate, occupancy certificate, etc. for all projects across Mumbai. Now, approvals for the projects built on MHADA plots would not require permissions from BMC. This trend of special authority is gaining prominence in Maharashtra. Recently, MMRDA was also given special authority status for the upcoming metro projects including the building of metro casting yards.
‘Special Authority Status’ in this context will reduce the dependency on other government agencies for approvals and the designated authority will have the right to follow its own way of working. All the decisions and approvals regarding the construction of the building would not require the consent of other government institutions. This would reap multiple benefits for the system.
The ‘Special Authority Status’ is expected to eliminate red tapism from the system and fast-track the process of real estate and infrastructure development. The time and effort required to get approvals for construction is reduced considerably which in turn would bring down the cost of the project. It will also reduce the mounting pressure on BMC as the number of real estate developments in Mumbai is never ending.
As we know, ‘With great power comes great responsibility’, hence it is imperative for MHADA to have the operational and technical capabilities to approve real estate projects. Also, the transition of the projects which have pending approvals from BMC needs to be properly addressed, as this transition phase might be painful for developers as well as home buyers. It is also vital for MHADA to look at the bigger picture of sustainable urban future and adherence to the basic requirements of urban planning, while providing approvals for the project.
There are talks of bringing MHADA, SRA and other projects by the government entities under the purview of RERA. So, this move of assigning ‘Special Planning Authority’ will help MHADA projects to achieve timeliness and be RERA compliant. Moreover, after the special authority status, it is expected that MHADA is more likely to attract private players for real estate development through joint ventures and joint developments. As MHADA is known primarily for providing houses at affordable prices, it would be interesting to see whether the cost of approvals, which form 5-10% of the project cost, are reduced by MHADA to make these projects economically feasible.