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Govt may freeze new construction permits

Chief Minister Ashok Chavan’s announcement, during the state Assembly’s winter session, to not allow new constructions in Mumbai till the water shortage problem is addressed is gaining impetus

mumbai Updated: Jan 04, 2010 01:19 IST
Sayli Udas Mankikar

Chief Minister Ashok Chavan’s announcement, during the state Assembly’s winter session, to not allow new constructions in Mumbai till the water shortage problem is addressed is gaining impetus.

Chavan is considering that permissions for additional constructions in No-Development Zones (NDZ) will be put on hold temporarily.

The actual demand of water for Mumbai is 4,200 million litres a day (mld), while supply after the 30 per cent water cut is just at 2,900 mld — a gap of 1,300 mld.

The government has been considering a hike in the floor space index (FSI) for facilities in NDZ’s from 0.2 FSI to 0.4 FSI, which meant more construction space in such zones.

But with the looming water crisis, facilities similar to that of the film city in Goregaon — at the Aarey Milk Colony will have to wait for any further construction till Mumbai’s water problem is solved.

About 33 per cent of land in central and suburban Mumbai is marked as NDZ — which includes Aarey Milk Colony plots at Goregaon and Worli and the Godrej land at Vikhroli. NDZs are not green lands but marked areas kept aside where zoning will be done when need arises.

However, development of agriculture, golf courses, private parks, film facilities, stadiums, cemeteries, transit camps and recently, information technology-related services has been permitted in such zones. A proposal of increasing construction space in these zones was being considered by the state city-planning department.

“Any kind of extra construction means more water usage, which the city cannot afford at this stage. We cannot prevent work on important infrastructure projects from going ahead or on slum rehabilitation projects,” said T.C. Benjamin, principal secretary, Urban Development Department confirming the proposed amendment.

Although this move will be a small drop in the ocean, it will certainly mean more water to domestic users, who are now dealing with a 15 per cent water cut that is expected to continue till the end of the monsoon.

The freeze on new development might also delay the possibility of water rationing, a proposal that is being toyed with by the city civic officials.

The municipal corporation is planning divide the city into zones and each zone would get a one-day break from water supply.