City may grow by 300%, nothing for slums

  • Kunal Purohit, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Feb 19, 2015 00:22 IST

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) plans to go vertical may add three times its current built-up area. But the draft development plan (DP) neither talks about affordable housing, nor how it plans to improve the conditions in slums.

Calculation reveals that if the plans of increasing the FSI go through, then the city might get 300% more housing and commercial built-up area. From the nearly 150 crore sqft of area at present, Mumbai will get 606 crore sqft.

Many claim the plan focuses on hiking the FSI in an attempt to facilitate the real estate industry, without addressing major concerns.
This increase in construction comes even as the BMC admits to its inability in providing amenities.

In its report, the BMC has said that despite its efforts, there will be a deficit of 21.3 crore sqft in educational and medical amenities, among others. The draft DP has also not taken into consideration a holistic plan of improving living conditions in slums. The plan, instead, envisages redevelopment of slums as the only panacea for its transformation.

Interestingly, the root of this increase in the city’s FSI is the report’s assumption that an average individual, by 2034, will require 300 sqft of housing space. An average home, it estimates, will be over 1,000 sqft. Many say such an assumption is far-fetched in a city where, currently, an individual has only 96 sqft of housing space, the lowest being 10 sqft in pavement dwellings.

The real estate industry has appreciated the move. “An increase in FSI may have a corresponding increase in infrastructure. From the pavement below the house to social amenities such as libraries or culture centres, all of it will have to increase,” said architect Neera Adarkar.

Pankaj Joshi, executive director, Urban Design Research Institute, said the BMC was planning to build the city by taking away the amenities that its needs.

However, Pankaj Kapoor, managing director, Liases Foras, said the increased may result in better infrastructure. “It may lead to redistribution of population density. This may free up land for infrastructure building.”

Kapoor, however, warned that the increased FSI alone won’t mean affordable homes. “The state will have to bring down cost of land.”

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