While the city is undergoing continuous water cuts on account of last year’s drought, the implementation of Rain Water Harvesting System (RWHS), mandated by building by laws in the city, is still a far-fetched idea for many of the city’s residential colonies and cooperative housing societies.
Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) made RWHS a pre-requisite for developers to acquire Occupation Certificate in 2002. Hence, no rainwater harvesting meant no OC. There are nearly 50,000 buildings in the city that lack OC, most of which have been held upon account of this one lacuna.
Sudhir Naik, Deputy Municipal Commissioner, said that a probe would be set up into buildings that lack occupation certificates and has not installed the RWHS as yet. Naik said that the civic body is still gathering information on these buildings and will set up the inquiry once the information is available.
According to MCGM sources, “For the first three years, it standard penalty, after that penalty will keep doubling.”
“Buildings without an OC are given less water supply on humanitarian grounds and are charged a penalty. However, this cannot be seen as a solution, or else the developers will continue to get away with paying the extra charge and not worry about the guidelines. Logically, there should be some penalty levied on developers for not installing rain water harvesting and not obtaining an OC,” senior civic official said on condition of anonymity.
He added that an increase in the number of buildings that are not having an occupation certificate, can also lead to an increase in the exchange of black money between the property buyers and developers since buyer’s dont get home loans on buildings that do not have an occupation certificate.
In 2012, ex-mayor Sunil Prabhu had said that from 2007 till today, no RWHS has been installed and had asked the MCGM for a white paper for buildings that do not have an OC. The Bombay High court had ordered that moving into buildings that lack the occupation certificate is illegal.