DESPITE fears that the island city of Mumbai remains ill-equipped to cope with the unprecedented real estate boom that the region has witnessed in the past decade, the Maharashtra government has plans to open the door for further construction in the city.
A controversial proposal of allowing builders an additional construction right, equal to 100 per cent of the plot’s area on payment of premium, is now being considered, said senior officials on condition of anonymity. The revised norms, if sanctioned, will come as a major bonanza for builders holding prime plots in the island city, where property prices in certain pockets are the highest in the country. It would universally raise the permissible floor space index (FSI) in the island city to 3.
FSI is a development tool that defines the extent of construction permissible on a plot. It is the ratio of the built-up area to the total plot area. It will also mean a major shift in the city’s town planning policy. The FSI levels in Mumbai were capped in 1991 due to congestion. While the previous Congress-NCP government had allowed additional FSI on payment of premiums in the suburbs and extended suburbs of Mumbai, it did not extend this benefit to parts of the island city.
The new proposal, on the other hand, does a complete U-turn. If the proposal goes through, it would be the first time since 1991 when the permissible FSI levels in Mumbai would be higher than those offered in the suburbs.
Last September, a rush hour stampede at the Elphinstone Road railway station, which took 23 lives, had shown how the