Hundreds of residential buildings under the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) will get 50 per cent extra floor space index (FSI).
The Bombay High Court on Thursday vacated its December 2005 order restraining the corporation from allowing any change of user in residential projects or granting additional FSI of 0.5 to them. The FSI of a plot indicates how high you can build on it.
The state government had on December 12, 2007, approved modifications in development control rules for Navi Mumbai, allowing change of user from residential to residential-cum-commercial projects and an extra FSI of 0.5 for these.
The Mumbai Citizen Group, represented by Soma Singh, filed a public interest litigation against this saying additional 0.5 FSI would lead to congestion.
The high court also found that the NMMC had no authority to grant additional FSI like the Cidco, which had obtained the state’s approval to modify its development control rules.
The NMMC got the state’s approval to change its DC rules in July 2008 and approached the HC requesting it to dispose of the PIL.
A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice S.C. Dharmadhikari vacated the stay. But Thursday’s order does not apply to plots allotted by Cidco that do not have roads at least 15 m wide, adjoining them.
The court has told the NMMC that it can grant extra FSI only after it publicly declares the percentage of area under mixed use and that of plots availing 1.5 FSI in residential zones.
The condition was imposed because of a ceiling on the area that can be allowed change of user or more FSI.
Builders and residents welcomed the court’s decision. “Now, the road is clear,” said Devang Trivedi, managing director of Progressive Group. “Several societies had not started construction but had made plans according to 1.5 FSI. They will benefit now.”
Developers, however, feel the additional FSI is not enough for dilapidated Cidco buildings. “Redeveloping buildings where creating a shopping and commercial area is not a possibility will not be feasible with this FSI. For that, one needs at least 2.5 FSI,” Arvind Goel, president of Navi Mumbai Chamber of Housing, said.
There are fears that increased FSI will put pressure on the city’s infrastructure.
“The sectors here have been developed with a particular population in mind,” Goel said. “Authorities need to plan in advance to ensure the city is ready to take this additional pressure.”