It was a toss-up between taller buildings and clearer roads. The state government decided to go with clearer roads, and less of a strain on other civic infrastructure.
A plan to hike floor-space index near Metro stations from 1.33 to 4 is likely to be scrapped. FSI is an indicator of how high a developer can build on a plot. An FSI of 4 would have meant the total constructed area of each building could be four times the area of the plot on which it was built.
“The state felt an FSI of 4 within 500 metres of each of the Metro stations was not feasible,” said Principal Secretary (Urban Develop-ment) T.C. Benjamin. “The distance between two stations will be little more than 1,000 metres. The extra FSI would thus cover the entire stretch between the stations.”
This could be bad news for the city — more FSI would have meant more housing stock in a city starved of space. It would also have meant that Mumbai could finally go vertical, at least in some small pockets.
The move could mean less revenue for the state government and BMC, which were hoping to earn significant sums from the sale of the extra FSI. These funds — all the more precious during a downturn that is already hitting most sources of revenue — were to create a corpus for infrastructure projects in the metropolitan region.
However, the state seems to have realised the possibility of such a proposal creating more troubles for the city.
“Though the state and BMC would make money, the haphazard vertical construction would take a toll on the city’s already overburdened infrastructure,” said a bureaucrat with the Urban Development Department.
The state will, however, ensure extra FSI for the developers who build the Metro stations. “Without extra FSI, the bidders may not find the venture attractive,” the bureaucrat said. Incidentally, bidders have ignored the tenders issued early this week for the second Metro line, forcing the state to seek ways of pushing such projects through without outside help.
There are two lines planned in Phase I of the three-phase project — Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar and Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd. Work on the first line has begun.