BMC may fix base 2 FSI for entire city
A base floor space index (FSI) of 2 may be fixed for the entire city and the civic authority may allow transfer of development rights (TDR) to be used anywhere in greater Mumbai. Currently, the base FSI is 1.33 in the island city and 1 in the suburbs, while TDR is allowed to be used only north of the plot from where it is generated. These are some of the drastic changes the BMC has made while revising the city’s draft development plan (DP), which it plans to publish next month for public discussion.
“We have suggested a (uniform) base FSI to avoid accusations that we were favouring some builders with much higher FSI in certain locations,” said a civic source. FSI determines how much can be built on a plot. For instance, FSI 2 means that one can build 2,000 sq m on a 1,000 sq m plot.
Last year, public uproar greeted the BMC’s original draft DP, which recommended FSI as high as 5 to 8 in congested localities. The civic administration had earlier justified the high FSI as being in areas well-connected by public transport, primarily near railway stations and existing and upcoming metro stations. FSI of 6.5 and 8 was suggested in the immediate vicinity of major railway stations, those near commercial business districts and other employment nodes like Andheri and Dadar. The idea was to allow construction of more high-rises near railway stations. Experts had criticized the proposal, stating it would lead to more congestion in already crowded localities. There were even allegations that the earlier draft DP provided high FSI in some places to favour certain builders.
Activists had slammed the BMC of “non-application of mind”, stating that granting FSI 8 for “development” of the already-congested “transportation hubs” of Dadar and Andheri, without considering the ground reality, will choke access to busy railway stations.
The uproar forced chief minister Devendra Fadnavis last year to direct the BMC to revise the draft DP.
Civic sources said the revised draft has also proposed that TDR be allowed anywhere in the city and not be restricted to the suburbs. Its selective use in high-end areas of the western suburbs has led to lopsided development, especially in the BandraKhar-Juhu belt.
A construction boom due to TDR in many suburban localities has put a severe strain on civic infrastructure, with towers rising on narrow roads with inadequate parking.TDR, introduced in 1991, is compensation given to private land owners whose properties are reserved by the BMC for public amenities like parks and playgrounds. The owner receives equivalent construction rights which can be used anywhere north of the plot he has surrendered.
“Now, the BMC may allow a person to use TDR in any part of the city and it will be connected to ready reckoner (RR) rates of that area,” said sources.
The state government fix es RR rates every year and its value varies from area to area and location to location. For instance, a property located in Bandra (West) would have a higher RR value than the one located in Santa Cruz (East).
So, TDR generated in Bandra (West) can be converted into more additional FSI in Santacruz (East), but will provide less FSI if used in Colaba.
On the face of it, the proposal to have a standard base FSI of 2 for the entire city may have been done to silence the critics. But various builder-driven housing schemes of the state government, like slum rehabilitation and redevelopment of dilapidated buildings, offer additional construction rights in the form of higher FSI. So, the total FSI could still be as high as 5 or 6 in such projects. If the increase benefits tenants, society flat owners, residents of Mhada colonies and slum dwellers by getting them larger houses, it will be welcome. The government should ensure that affordable housing receives a boost.