Mumbai’s first underground Metro rail, the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz line, has reportedly pushed up project costs for some construction projects in its vicinity. The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRC), which is developing the project, now wants the Maharashtra government to compensate for this rising cost.
The agency is learnt to have written to the urban development department led by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis seeking grant of transferable development rights (TDR). The MMRC wants the state to consider this for building projects located in the influence zone of the Metro corridor.
The TDR, issued in the form of a development rights certificate — it is nothing but floating Floor Space Index (FSI) — which allows builders additional construction rights when they construct or redevelop buildings. The TDR can also be sold in the market.
Currently, there is no provision to provide TDR for losses or increases in cost of a project. The government’s existing norms recognise generation of TDR when a landowner surrenders land to the government for building public amenities or rehousing slum dwellers and project-affected people. Further, for properties marked as Grade-I and Grade-II heritage structures, TDR is admissible for loss of development rights.
While the MMRC has now been asked to submit more details, some senior officials have questioned the proposal. “How does one measure the extent of the increase in project cost,” an official asked. Another senior official pointed out that accepting MMRC’s proposal could lead to other similar requests. “A ruling party MLA has been demanding TDR to compensate builders for height restrictions in the airport funnel. An approval to MMRC’s request could be seen as a precedent,” said the officer.
Managing Director (MMRC) Ashwini Bhide said, “We had received a representation in this regard from a construction project in Dadar. This was communicated to the government. We are yet to receive a response.”
Construction work for the 33.5-km Metro line has begun. While the tunnel is proposed to be 20-25 metres below surface, the government has imposed certain conditions on ongoing building constructions within 500 metres on either side of the corridor. “An NOC from the MMRC is mandatory,” said Bhide. As a safety measure, such construction projects are expected to take additional measures. Some have complained that this has pushed up costs, impacting the viability of their projects.