35,000 old buildings to get development push


MUMBAI: Ageing residential societies that have already reached their development potential will now get additional built-up area that they can sell to facilitate their long-pending redevelopment.

The BMC is paving the way for redevelopment of over 35,000 old buildings which have already consumed their existing floor space index (FSI) but will now be allowed redevelopment with an additional incentive of 40 per cent of the total built-up area (BUA). The revised development control rules (DCR) have allowed the housings societies to sell the additional BUA in the open market to recover the cost of construction, helping thousands of residents to get larger homes.

Simply put, an old building with BUA of 20,000 sq ft will get to construct an additional 8,000 sq ft of BUA.

With this thrust on housing, BMC has emerged as the next nodal agency for affordable housing after the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA). It has not only made provisions for construction of small housing units admeasuring 300 sq ft to 600 sq ft for the economically weaker sections but to auction them via a lottery, like MHADA does.

Officer on special duty (OSD) Ramakant Jha told mediapersons on Friday that the DCR’s emphasis on the creation of one million affordable housing units would also serve as a trigger for corrections of rates in the highly-inflated realty market. “The construction would be privately done, but the distribution would be executed by the BMC. With land cost taken out of the equation (calculation of the sale price of the tenements) affordable house actually would translate into a reality,” he said.

No development in ‘natural areas’

The BMC has been facing criticism for its plans to open up non-development zone (NDZ) land for creating more affordable homes, using the old mill land formula. Mumbai’s mill lands were opened up for development by reserving a portion for the developer, MHADA and the remainder for the civic body to develop amenities and open spaces. This had led to indiscriminate and unplanned growth in central Mumbai areas like Lower Parel without resulting in a drastic fall in realty rates.

The BMC has now banned future developent on 10,350 hectares of untouched city land. In the new DCR, BMC has carved out and transferred 70 per cent of the city’s total 13,706 ha of NDZ land to a separate category called ‘Natural Area’. These include forests, water bodies, marshy land, mangroves, hill areas and land falling under the coastal regulation zone (CRZ)-1.

“By attaching the tag of Natural Area, we have frozen development of this land forever. Nobody will be allowed to touch this land now,” Municipal CVcommissioner Ajoy Mehta said on Friday. He added, “We are constantly getting feedback from companies from IT and biotechnology sectors seeking office space in Mumbai as there is a high level of safety for women. Their only issue is the high realty rates. Already, Andheri and Parel are developing as hubs for IT and biotech sectors.”

The writer is a freelance journalist

BMC has now banned future development on 10,350 hectares of untouched city land

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