Two decades after a high-level panel recommended increasing floor space index (FSI) for redevelopment of dilapidated buildings in the suburbs of Mumbai, the Maharashtra government has finally formulated a policy on it.
According to the policy, the state government will provide FSI perks for redevelopment of such buildings. In order to be eligible for the perk, a building has to be tagged as dilapidated or dangerous to live in by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation.
Replicating an incentive FSI policy which exists for the redevelopment of old cessed properties in the island city, the government will permit the redeveloper of such suburban properties up to three times the plot size or FSI of 3.
Alternatively, the redevelopers will be able to avail an incentive FSI for their sale component that is proportionate to the built-up required for rehabilitation of the existing occupiers.
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In 1995, a committee headed by retired bureaucrat Dinesh Afzalpurkar had raised the issue of decrepit suburban buildings and recommended providing higher FSI to expedite their redevelopment.
The government has been studying the proposal for over two decades and the number of shaky buildings in the suburban belt has risen significantly. A senior official estimated that at least 4,000 buildings were in a state of disrepair.
The state bureaucracy is divided over the rider proposed for the perk.
“The state already receives complaints about redevelopers conniving with local officials to declare even perfectly sound buildings dangerous. The perk might encourage this further,” said a senior official.
In the case of the cessed buildings in the island city, the perk was extended on the basis of the building’s age. It extends to all cessed buildings, constructed before 1969. “A similar uniform approach in the case of suburban buildings can rule out corrupt practices,” the official added.
The policy, once implemented, is expected to revive redevelopment in the suburbs. A Bombay High Court ban on construction activity due to lack of solid waste management facilities in Mumbai, which was imposed on March 1, had adversely impacted redevelopment of tenanted properties in the suburbs.