FAR raised but does not go far enough

Rise in ground coverage and floor area ratio will help home supply only when height and density norms are eased

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: November 27, 2014 1:58 am

Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday approved a DDA proposal to increase ground coverage and Floor Area Ratio (FAR) in Delhi. While the real estate sector lauded the move, experts maintained that housing supply in the national Capital would improve only when height and density norms are eased.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the UD Ministry said, “Venkaiah Naidu approved the proposal of Delhi Development Authority (DDA) in this regard on Monday. DDA had proposed an amendment to this effect to Master Plan Delhi 2021 and firmed up the same after inviting objections and suggestions from the public.”

FAR of plots of 750-1,000 sqm size has been enhanced from the present 150 per cent to 200 per cent while the same has been increased from 120 per cent to 200 per cent for plots of 1,000 sqm and above. While the ground coverage for plots of 750-1,000 sqm will remain at 50 per cent, the same has been increased from 40 per cent to 50 per cent for plots of 1,000 sqm and above.

Terming the move as an interesting development, real estate group CBRE’s South Asia chief, Anshuman Magazine, said, “The decision to increase the ground coverage and floor area ratio in Delhi will have a relatively greater impact on the prime residential neighbourhoods of Delhi than more mid-market localities. The exact impact of this enhancement will be better understood once more clarity is provided on whether there is to be any parallel move to increase dwelling units.”

Explaining the motivation behind the change, DDA vice-chairman Balwinder Kumar said, “The population in Delhi is increasing tremendously and lack of housing is becoming a major problem.

Sources in the DDA said the new increase in FAR doesn’t necessarily imply that people could build additional floors on their homes but instead meant people could build bigger homes. DDA officials explained that though there was an increase in FAR, no changes had been made with regard to the allotted number of dwelling units, or the height of construction of a building.”

Essentially, he said, there can be no violation of the number of dwelling units which are allowed as per the master plan. “Neither can there be a violation of the cap put on the how high buildings can be, as per the master plan,” explained an official.

Meanwhile, chairman of the Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC) PSN Rao stressed on the need to improve city infrastructure before changing policy.

“With the increase in FAR, there will be more pressure on the road, traffic and electricity infrastructure. There will be an increased number of people arriving in the city. While the idea of increased FAR is a good one, it can only be beneficial if infrastructure is augmented as well,” Rao said.

Rao said in terms of augmenting infrastructure, one needs to look at waste management, transport and other essential services. “Property tax will go up but higher the FAR means optimal utilisation of space. Land is very limited and this is an excellent way to accommodate every one”.

Real estate experts believe the fine print first needs to be studied first. Speaking to Newsline, Sunil Aggarwal, managing director of Black Olive Ventures, said “Increased FAR means builders developing new flats will benefit the maximum. However, as of now, the master plan does not give us any clarity on the land pooling policy which is yet to be implemented. While the policy mentions 4 FAR, the actual implementation is only 2.4 FAR. One cannot comment on how many floors a particular property can go up to unless one reads the fine print.”

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