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FSI mapping could be misused, say experts

mumbai Updated: Nov 11, 2011 02:00 IST
Kunal Purohit
Kunal Purohit
Hindustan Times
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In a move that will impact the growth the city sees in the future, the civic body plans to evaluate the existing floor space index (FSI) consumption in an area vis-à-vis with the infrastructure of the place through a process called the FSI mapping. The findings will be used to determine how liveable an area is.

Several experts as well as officials with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are worried that such a mapping will unleash construction in areas where the built-up area is found to be low and where buildable space is available.

Unless studied in combination with the density of population, simply mapping the existing FSI makes little sense, say experts. “Such mapping can be misleading as it would show that consumption in an area like Dharavi is low, but it doesn’t reflect that the density of population there is very high,” said Pankaj Joshi, executive director of the Urban Design Research Institute. “Such a survey, though necessary, is incomplete just by itself.”

“Although the study is needed, the BMC will have to be careful about how to use the findings in making policies. If not used carefully, such findings could be open to misuse,” said a planner, on condition of anonymity.

Many officials believe the study will give them empirical data to support the planning of policies, especially in areas that are likely to witness growth but will have poor infrastructure unless steps are taken.

“By co-relating the findings to the state of the infrastructure, we will be able to understand how areas fare from the point of basic amenities. A reality check will lead to better planning,” said a civic official from the Development Plan department, requesting anonymity.

For instance, after studying a particular area’s current and potential built-up area, its civic services such as roads, water supply, open spaces, health care can be looked at. A co-relation between these factors will determine the livability index of that area.

In addition, the findings will help policy planners grapple with the contentious issue of granting FSI area-wise. “We are looking at whether we can have a uniform FSI policy, where we allot FSI on plot-wise basis, keeping local factors of infrastructure in mind,” said one of the urban planners associated with the exercise, on condition of anonymity.

The findings will be used to make amendments in the Development Control regulations that govern construction in the city.