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One more illusory proposal from the PANDORA BOX of the State Government is in offing and shortly is claimed to be implemented.

The State Government is suddenly concerned about the thousands of families residing in an unsafe cessed structures who lose member/s due to a collapse and therefore, is mulling miraculous proposal that the precious lives of tenants living in such wrecked buildings in Mumbai would be covered by an insurance scheme to the extent of Rs 5 lakhs per family as declared in the Legislative Council on Friday, the 2nd August, 2013.

The Government is of the opinion that these cessed buildings pay tax (cess) for maintenance and repair and hence, in turn, it is desired that their lives should be protected by providing insurance cover to those families staying there.

The Government Resolution (GR) has been issued for effective execution of this scheme. There are more than 16,000 cessed buildings which are in dilapidated condition. Over 15 lakhs people will get benefit of this insurance scheme.

The insurance scheme will be funded by the Mumbai Buildings Repairs and Reconstruction Board whose budget has been scaled up to (only!) Rs 200 crore.

However, it is a matter of fact that even today; many old buildings require urgent repair, could not be repaired due to paucity of fund. The scheme claims that if the building collapses, each occupant family will get Rs 5 lakhs.

The Government asserts that to generate more revenue, it had modified some Rules and Regulations on Land Lease, FSI, Public Parking Policy, etc, which earned it between Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000 Crore. A million dollar question is whether such revenue would be effectively generated to suffice the promise?    

Currently, the Government offers only Rs 1 lakh compensation from the CM's relief fund to the families of building crash victims. However, it is not known as to after how much delay these monies are distributed. According to the State Housing Department Officials, the scheme could be extended to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) in future.

The new surrogate scheme appears to be replacing an indistinct and ambiguous policy for compensation, which is currently in place, for those structures that collapse. It is believed that this scheme is nothing but jugglery of ornamental and well orchestrated words and it is not the ultimate solution to the problem of old and dilapidated buildings.  

The State Government has been pulling all stops to facilitate quick redevelopment of such cessed buildings, repair and reconstruction of old cessed buildings. The government recently announced a uniform floor space index of 3 irrespective of any of the A, B or C categories of buildings.

The announcement from the State Government has rolled up widespread criticism in various circles that it has dejectedly failed to prevent building collapses in Mumbai.