Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has issued orders permitting ongoing redevelopment projects of old cessed buildings in Mumbais island city to avail additional floor space index (FSI).
The FSI is a tool that defines the extent of construction permissible on a plot. It is the ratio of built-up area to the total area of the plot.
The move is likely to benefit about 2,200 projects that were originally sanctioned an FSI of 2.5. As per the fresh directive,all such projects can now avail an FSI of 3 regardless of their stage of construction.
On October 5,Chavan granted permission to modify norms for hiking FSI
for redevelopment of 5,000-odd old buildings in MHADA colonies in Mumbai from 2.5 to 3.
The latest move comes in light of the Bombay High Courts March 20 order striking down a condition imposed earlier by the state government for grant of additional FSI in case of cessed buildings.
In May 2011,while modifying development control regulations for increasing FSI for redevelopment of cessed buildings to 3,the state government had imposed a rider that in the case of ongoing schemes,it could only be availed if the construction of the rehabilitation building had not progressed beyond the plinth stage.
A developer had challenged the condition on grounds that it was unconsitutional and ultra vires. The court ruled that extra FSI could be availed in the ongoing incomplete redevelopment projects (where full occupation certificate has not been granted) on submission of structural stability certificate by a certified licenced engineer.
However,the latest directive issued by Chavan does not impose the condition for submission of a structural stability certificate.
Interestingly,the state housing department,said senior officials,had insisted that the structural stability be insisted upon. Sources said Chavan,who had been targetted by Congresss ally NCP over slow decision making,was keen to announce a slew of major housing initiatives in the coming days.
Chavan himself said these initiatives were a top priority,but denied that the pressure from the ally had got him going. The initiatives include a modified scheme to replace the failed rental housing policy.
On October 5,Chavan held detailed discussions in this regard with urban development and housing department officials. He has already indicated that rental housing model would be replaced by a model for construction of affordable houses. While an FSI of 4 is allotted to developers for rental housing scheme,the government has plans to lower it to 3. Sources said the government might give up on the idea of allowing such schemes in areas outside municipal corporation limits in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
The long pending proposal to modify another affordable housing scheme,where owners or developers having a plot larger than 2,000 sq m can approach MHADA and get an FSI of 2.5,has also been taken up for approval. The modifications have been proposed to make the scheme more viable for private players. Chavan has also held discussions with developer associations in the last two days on these initiatives.
A government panel has now been asked to finalise the framework for these models. Chavan told the Indian Express that he was keen to ensure that all schemes complemented each other. It must not be that one kills another, he said.