The proposed development plan (DP) may be favouring builders at the cost of providing affordable homes and open spaces for the city. While the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) may be tom-toming its plans for creating affordable homes through the plan, here’s a reality check— it has actually ended up diluting recommendations of various national bodies.
While various central bodies have recommended keeping at least 20-25% of the plot areas to construct cheaper homes, the BMC has brought the figure down to 10%.
For instance, the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Mission had recommended that 20-25% of developed land in all housing projects (private and public) be reserved for affordable homes. Even a draft state policy in 2012 had recommended that 20% of large plots be reserved for cheap homes.
But the BMC has decided to make it just 10% of plots above 2,000 sqm. This isn’t all. The civic body has also diluted existing norms on the mandatory open spaces known as layout recreation grounds (RGs) that builders had to provide when developing big plots.
From the mandatory 15-25% of the plot area, the BMC has proposed to cut it to a uniform 10%.
Such a move may help builders construct on more land, but will jeopardise both existing and proposed open spaces that the city could have fetched.
The proposed dilution of the layout RGs will also have a major impact on the city’s existing green cover. For instance, areas like Ghatkopar’s Garodia Nagar and the various Mhada colonies across the city where the layout RGs exist, may lose much of their open space when the area is redeveloped.
“In a city where there are such huge income disparities, the DP had a great opportunity to correct it by creating more affordable homes. However, reserving only 10% of the area will mean creating more servant apartments, not flats,” said Hussain Indorewala, a Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute of Architecture faculty and member of Hamara Shehar Vikas Niyojan.
The dilution of norms comes even as cities like New Delhi race far ahead. The Delhi Masterplan 2021, a vision document, has mandated that plots more than 3,000 sqm reserve 15% of the floor space index (FSI) it is granted or 35% of homes that are built on the plot to be affordable.
BMC chief Sitaram Kunte had defended the move saying, “Under our new policy, we are also proposing that large plots contribute 10% of their area for other amenities. Hence, in all, we are getting 20% from developers.”
Indorewala said this wasn’t enough. “A country like Spain has mandated that developers reserve 50% area for affordable homes. We can surely do as much. The BMC has no plan B.”