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President Kovind gives nod to bill to smoothen reconstruction of dilapidated buildings in Mumbai

New Delhi | President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to three state bills, including a legislation which will smoothen the process of reconstructing dilapidated buildings or a complex of buildings in land-starved Mumbai.

The Maharashtra Apartment Ownership (Amendment) Bill, the Gujarat Agricultural Lands Ceiling (Amendment) Bill 2015 and the Gujarat Agricultural Lands Ceiling (Amendment) Bill, 2017 have got the presidential nod, a home ministry official said. The Maharashtra Apartment Ownership (Amendment) Bill will facilitate reconstruction of old and dilapidated buildings, especially in Mumbai, by allowing “majority consent of the owners instead of unanimous consent”.

There are hundreds of buildings in Mumbai which could not be redeveloped as not all the flat owners have given their consent, leading to fear of building collapse and other problems. According to the new legislation, the consent of 51 per cent of the residents will be required for reconstruction or repair of old and dilapidated buildings, the official said.

The Gujarat Agricultural Lands Ceiling (Amendment) Bill, 2015 and the Gujarat Agricultural Lands Ceiling (Amendment) Bill, 2017 seek to amend the Agricultural Land Ceiling Act, enacted in 1960. The purpose of these legislations is to ensure that land surrounded by factories, but unsuitable for farming and lying unused can be given to the industries which are keen on expanding operations. A provision in the 2017 bill allow the allotment of land to such industries, which will be required to make available equivalent quantum of land in lieu of land given to them by the government.

The old Agricultural Land Ceiling Act, 1960 restricted a person from owning agricultural land beyond a certain limit, and it also empowered the government to acquire surplus land from such owners. The key purpose of Act was to bring parity, as the government could allot such land acquired from influential people to those who did not have agricultural land.

The first bill was proposed when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat. The then UPA government at the Centre had rejected and returned it to the state.

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