By Accommodation Times News Services
In a setback to Bombay Dyeing, the Maharashtra government has informed the Bombay High Court that the textiles major had obtained approval for using a mill land in central Mumbai for commercial development “illegally and unlawfully” with the connivance of a government officer not vested with the authority.
Government of Maharashtra has cancelled the incentivised FSI and redevelopment permissions to Bombay Dying which was carrying on its project at Century Mills. Order passed against the builder for flouting of norms and illegal construction activities, according to industry sources.
Much of the public debate on deindustrialisation has been articulated around the fate of Mumbai’s historic cotton textile mills, whose vast empty compounds in the city centre are iconic of the economic transformation in the city and region. The Mumbai Mill Lands comprise the central districts of the Island City of Bombay, from Mahalaxmi and Byculla in the south, to Worli, Lower Parel and Prabhadevi in the west, and Parel, Lalbaug and Dadar in the north. Dotted throughout these areas are 58 barely functioning or closed composite textile mills, 33 privately owned, one managed by the Maharashtra State Textile Corporation (MSTC), and 25 of which are managed by the National Textile Corporation (NTC), the public sector textile company formed in the early seventies by Indira Gandhi’s programme of nationalisation. The network of textile mills, residential chawls, neighbourhoods, markets and maidans nestles in the heart of Mumbai, and is known by its residents as “Girangaon”, the “village of mills”. In many romantic and scholarly accounts, Girangaon is hailed as the
birthplace of the India’s industrial modernity. Its working class was central to the growth of the trade union and nationalist movements in India, and this district was the fulcrum of Mumbai’s working-class culture and politics until the twilight of the textile industry in the seventies and eighties.
Regulation 58 of the new DCR which came into force in March 1991, provides for development of sick and/ or closed cotton textile mills on condition that one third of the land is given to the BMC for public amenities AND 27-37 % (depending on the area of the mill) is given to the MHADA and PSU’s for housing. The remaining lands could be developed by the owner for residential and commercial uses as may be permissible under the DC regulation in force.
The DC regulation of March 1991 intended to regulate the development of cotton textile mills so as to generate open spaces and public houses for the city, in a manner, which would create coherent urban form. Such redevelopment that has occurred has been in a piece meal and haphazard manner on a totally commercial basis, without any portion of the land becoming available either for low income housing or for public amenities. On 29th February 1996, Maharashtra government had instituted a study group under the chairmanship of Architect Charles Correa to have an integrated development plan for the development of textile mills. In June 2000 state government cleared the proposals to sale of surplus mill land of NTC as per DCR.
54 mills together comprise of 180 hectares of land around them and its sale was earlier opposed by the unions and political parties alike. During the Shiv Sena-BJP regime, 15 sick Mills were allowed to sell excess land. Development Control (DC) Rules 91 will enable the sale of land as non-industrial use. There are two provisions for this kind of sale, Under section 58 (1) (a) of the DC rules sale can be allowed if 15% of the land is surplus. And under section 58 (1) (b) the surplus land is to be divided into three equal parts. One part goes to Municipal corporation, one to MHADA, and the third part to the owner for either commercial sale or development.