A cash-strapped Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is pressing the state government to allow it to again grant additional FSI of 0.33 to builders in the suburbs at a premium. This, it says, will fetch it Rs300 crore annually besides bringing down prices for home-buyers.
The civic body claims it can earn Rs 82 lakhs a day from charging a premium on Floor Space Index or FSI, which is the amount of construction allowed on a particular plot. The higher the FSI, the more the number of floors that can be built.
The state government had, in April 2008, modified the Development Control Regu-lations to grant the additional FSI. The premium was shared equally by the state and the BMC.
This practice was struck down by the Bombay high court, which ruled the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act said nothing about charging a premium.
So, in October 2010, the state government issued an ordinance to amend the Act to allow for a premium.
But, the state government is yet to clarify if the BMC can start granting additional FSI for a premium.
A senior BMC official said, “We have been constantly corresponding with the government on this issue, which has affected our budgetary calculations.”
On March 10, the BMC commissioner Subodh Kumar even wrote to the Principal Secretary, Urban Development Department, TC Benjamin, suggesting that the State issue a notification allowing the FSI for a premium.
Benjamin refused to comment, pointing out that government officials are not authorised to speak on policy matters when the Assembly is in session.
A senior civic official, requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media, said, “This ordinance was to ensure that the city’s powerful TDR (transfer development rights) lobby, which arbitrarily hiked prices, would be cut to size and builders’ dependence on TDR was reduced. Now builders pass on the TDR burden to apartment buyers.”
TDR is the right to construction awarded to plot owners in lieu of land that is taken over for development purpose. They sell this to developers, who use it to build more.
Grant of additional FSI would reduce dependence on TDR and bring down prices, is the argument the Shiv Sena, which runs the BMC, is using to pressure the state government.
The BMC standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale, said, “Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has carefully tried projecting himself as being anti-builder and anti-corruption. However, his silence on FSI is benefiting the TDR lobby. This is against the interests of flat buyers in the city as well.”