Just days before the election code of conduct kicks in for the civic polls, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has raised the floor space index (FSI) for slum rehabilitation projects across the city.
While a builder redeveloping a slum cluster in Mumbai was permitted to construct up to three times the plot size or FSI 3, it has now been enhanced to FSI 4. FSI is a development tool that defines the extent of construction permissible on a plot. It is the ratio of the built-up area of a plot to the plot’s area.
In simple terms, this means that if a realtor could build up to 6,000 sqm on a 2,000-sqm plot, he can now go up to 8,000 sqm. While failing to meet the aim of making Mumbai slum-free, slum redevelopment projects have already turned into a goldmine for realtors.
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Town planners fear this would further burden an already creaking infrastructure and increase human density on such plots.
Mumbai’s latest land use survey, which was published alongside the city’s new development plans, had found that the city’s slum clusters had the highest population densities in the city. The slum population, estimated to be about 52 lakh, occupies barely 8 per cent of Mumbai’s geographical area, the survey found. “Permitting more construction will only increase such densities,” said a town planner who wished not to be named.
A senior government official, on the other hand, claimed the state’s Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) had proposed the higher FSI to make several ongoing redevelopment projects, which are mired in delays, more viable.
While existing norms permit the SRA to sanction an FSI of 4 only for slum clusters where the tenement density was more than 650 per hectare, Fadnavis has now extended the sop universally for all slum redevelopment projects. “Under the revised norm, the Chief Executive Officer of the SRA will factor in the tenement density post the sanctioning of the FSI. The CEO will have the discretion to demand tenements for rehabilitation of the project-affected people (PAPs) for construction projects where the existing tenement density is below 500 per hectare,” said an official.
While the chief minister has approved the revision, the Urban Development department, which he heads, is expected to formally notify the revision in the next few days.
Some more perks are in the offing for slum re-developers. Maharashtra’s Housing Minister Prakash Mehta Thursday hinted at a plan for offering even higher incentives for the redevelopment of slum enclaves situated on lands spread over 100 acres. In Mumbai’s new development control regulation, the SRA has also proposed several other relaxations making slum redevelopment more lucrative.
Promise of bigger homes
In the run-up to the crucial election, Fadnavis has also reached out to the 2.25 lakh-odd families residing in 104 Mhada colonies in Mumbai. The chief minister has revised norms mandating redevelopers to build a minimum rehabilitation home of 377 sqft instead of the previously required 300-sqft homes. But the government has also dished out a sop for realtors rehabilitating such families. The FSI for construction projects spread over 4000 sqm inside Mhada colonies has been enhanced from FSI 3 to FSI 4. But the government hasn’t given them a carte blanche. They will have to build affordable houses for the economically weaker, low income and middle income segments utilising an 1 FSI, and hand these over to Mhada on payment of construction cost. The latter will invite a draw of lots to allot these houses. The government won’t insist on the housing stock for plots below 2,000 sqm.
Lower FSI for cluster redevelopment in suburbs
Renewing the island city versus the suburbs debate, Fadnavis has limited the FSI for cluster redevelopment or Urban Renewal Schemes (URS) in the suburbs of Mumbai to FSI 3.
The government extends a higher FSI (FSI 4) for similar projects in the island city.
The chief minister’s move to restrict the building rights come after an impact assessment study, which was commissioned by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, had cautioned that replicating the same model as the island city in the suburbs would further densify Mumbai and impact its overall “liveability index”.
Further, while cluster redevelopment can be taken up for all plots above 4000 sqm in the island city, the government has plans to make it applicable only to plots above 6,000 sqm in the suburbs.
Sources confirmed that Fadnavis had approved the decision.
However, before implementing this move, the government will have to seek consent of the Bombay High Court, which is hearing a related matter.