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Old clause intact in new laws,realtors to protest

The city’s dominant real estate associations are set to lodge their protest against the clause in the new set of building laws that still allows the municipal commissioner to continue wielding discretionary powers over the building approval process.

The city’s dominant real estate associations are set to lodge their protest against the clause in the new set of building laws that still allows the municipal commissioner to continue wielding discretionary powers over the building approval process.

The stated purpose of the amendment to the Development Control Rules (DCR),an exercise that had derailed most construction projects last year,was to eliminate discretionary powers that have vested with subsequent municipal commissioners with regard to granting certain concessions to building projects.

However,the new rules,issued by the Urban Development Department on Friday state that the civic chief will retain his powers over several aspects. These include granting 20-35 per cent compensatory FSI,sanctioning the free of FSI areas such as staircases,lift wells and lobbies,allowing larger sized canopies and porches and granting 25 per cent additional parking free of FSI.

While the Builders’ Association of India (BAI) and the Practicing Engineers,Architects,and Town Planners’ Association (PEATA) are expected to make separate representations to the commissioner about the need to scrap the discretionary powers entirely,the realty industry’s apex body,Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI),will meet this week to decide future course of action on this contentious issue.

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PEATA president Manoj Daisaria said while announcing the new DCR,Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said it is meant to reduce arbitrary decision making and minimise discretion. He added that the promised delegation of powers is not evident in the rules. “When the amendment clearly limits the extent of the free of FSI areas and charges a premium on compensatory FSI,approvals could very well be granted at local level,” said Daisaria,adding that a file movement up to the level of the civic chief adds another three to six months of delay to a project.

BAI trustee Shankarbai Desai pointed out that such discretionary concessions always come with a price. He added that under the guise of revamping the DCR,the new rules legitimise the flagrant abuse of free of FSI areas such as flower beds and lily ponds. “The rules have effectively increased the FSI to 2.35. Instead of clamping down on the abuses by a handful of developers,the state has simply decided to earn a Rs 1,000-crore annual premium by regularising it,” said Desai.

The new regulations allow developers to consume an extra 35 per cent FSI in case of residential projects and 20 per cent in case of commercial and industrial projects for constructing areas such as balconies,ornamental projections,individual terraces and swimming pools. This compensatory FSI can be bought by developers by paying the government 60,80 and 100 per cent of the ready reckoner rates for residential,industrial and commercial properties respectively.

First published on: 09-01-2012 at 01:11:33 am
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