THE STATE government is set to allow higher construction rights to developers of prime mill plots in south and central Mumbai that are being developed under integrated development scheme for textile mills.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis-led urban development (UD) department has proposed an modification in Mumbai’s new Development Plan (DP) that will allow all such mill lands to be developed with a floor space index (FSI) of 4. FSI is a development tool that defines the extent of construction permissible on a plot. It is the ratio of built-up area of the plot to the total plot area. Basically, an FSI of 4 would allow developers to build up to four times the mill’s size.
Eyebrows are now being raised over the department’s move to introduce a fresh modification to the DP after the completion of the deadline issued for public suggestions and modifications to other major modifications the government has proposed in the new DP. While this deadline ended on June 22, the fresh amendment was issued as part of a corrigendum issued on June 29 by the department.
The proposed modification basically allows such developers to purchase additional FSI from the municipality by paying a premium or even buy additional transferable development rights from the open market to build up to an FSI of 4.
Integrated development schemes of textile mills are those where multi-mill aggregation of the built-up areas of more than one mill under common ownership is submitted. The auctioned mills of the Centre-run National Textile Corporation (NTC) located in south and central Mumbai are the biggest such cluster. While four other private mill owners too have submitted plans under the integrated scheme, sources said that mill lands being developed by private parties under the NTC’s scheme will benefit the most from the move.
At present, such mill land developers can avail a basic FSI of 1.33 times the plot size or an area equivalent to the built-up areas of the mill, whichever is higher. Further, they have the option of raising this up to 1.9 depending on the road width of the abutting road by purchasing (transfer of development rights) TDR from the open market.
But for more construction rights, such developers earlier only had the option of utilising the FSI provided to the landowner (say NTC in this case) as compensation for surrendering a share of land for public open space and mill worker housing as mandatory.
But the proposed modification allows such developers to utilise the premium FSI or additional TDR alongwith such compensation FSI to take the total permissible buildable area up to 4. “The total permissible FSI in such cases will be restricted to a maximum of 4 FSI. Provided further that in such cases the total permissible FSI may be allowed to utilised by way of NTC FSI, TDR or additional FSI by payment of premium in various combinations, at the option of the developer,” states the UD department notification issued in this regard.
According to sources, the NTC has already sold about 2 lakh square feet of FSI it had obtained against such land surrenders. Sources added that the some influential developers revamping mills under the NTC schemes were wary that the balance FSI remaining with the NTC won’t be enough to allow them all to build up to four times the plot size. Further, the NTC has the option of selling the TDR to other construction projects.
The modification, if approved, would ensure that such builders can avail up to 4 FSI, regardless of whether the NTC FSI was utilised on their plots or not. A top builder, who also has interests in the hospitality sector, and a construction firm building a mill plot in south Mumbai, are believed to have pushed the most for the modification.
Questions are also being raised over another rider issued as part of the same modification, which mention that the provisions of the new DP won’t be applicable to “any future amendments proposed in the layouts of existing integrated development schemes for textile mills”.
Sources said that the rider would allow the south Mumbai builder to protect extra areas build before the government introduced the fungible FSI policy in 2012.