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 opened the door for further construction in the city.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has lifted curbs on floor space index (FSI) for construction in the island city, permitting more building rights for redevelopment of properties. Following the CM’s nod, the urban development department has proposed modifications to Mumbai’s development control regulations to implement the move, and has invited suggestions and objections from the public.
The move to alter the regulations comes when a new set of development control regulations for Mumbai are already on the anvil.
The current proposal is to allow builders additional building rights on payment of a premium. According to the proposal, builders can avail an additional FSI of 0.5 on the gross plot area on paying such premiums. FSI is a development tool that defines the extent of construction permissible on a plot.
While the previous Congress-NCP government allowed premium FSI in the suburbs and extended suburbs of Mumbai, it had capped the FSI levels in the island city due to congestion. The Fadnavis government has now withdrawn this restriction.
The revised norm, once implemented, could be a windfall for construction projects adjoining wider roads, with the maximum FSI limit now enhanced to 2.5. Earlier, in November 2016, the government had allowed builders in the island city additional construction rights by permitting the loading of transferable developments rights (TDR) on plots in the region.
Just as in the case of TDR rights, the government will disallow premium FSI for properties adjoining roads less than 30 feet in width to prevent the mushrooming of pencil thin high-rises.
According to planning experts, the biggest beneficiaries of the move will be non-cessed properties, whose redevelopment is not incentivised by the government. The government’s town planners also agreed that the move would impact land use computations of the new development plan. Incidentally, while the new development plan has proposed a universal base FSI of two for properties across Mumbai, senior officials added that the revision in TDR and premium FSI norms has already increased this up to 2.5. The Bombay High Court had earlier raised concerns over the increase in FSI levels without the upgradation of infrastructure.
The state government is banking on the move to significantly increase its revenue.
“We expect to raise an additional Rs 500 crore from the move,” an official said.
Starved of funds to push big ticket development projects, the government has said that 25 per cent share from revenue collection would go towards financing the Dharavi Redevelopment Project and the Bandra Versova Sea Link project. The Mumbai municipality will be permitted to retain a 25 per cent share for development work, while the rest would go to the state coffers.