In a move aimed at reducing red tape, the state’s urban development department led by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has, for the first time delegated its vertical development powers to the planning authorities. The new FSI premium directives issued on Monday will allow the cash-strapped state government to mop up the much-needed resources.
Civic corporations such as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), planning agencies such as the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), Navi Mumbai’s City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO), Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) and Nagpur Improvement Trust will now be allowed to grant additional FSI, according to the norms and collect premium for it, without seeking sanction from the state urban development department.
Floor Space Index indicates how high a developer can build on a plot. It is the ratio of total buildable area to the size of the plot. While civic bodies have powers to grant FSI, the final sanction, so far, was with the urban development department, typically led by the chief minister. This also meant that every FSI hike file would travel from the local authority to the state secretariat, giving UDD notoriety with builders queuing up for last-minute sanctions.
Now, these powers will rest with the heads of the planning authorities, with rates of premium rationalized across the state according to the category of the civic corporation, planning body and council. In A-category civic corporations such as Mumbai and for planning agencies such as MMRDA, the premium ranges from 20% for schools to 50% for five-starred hotels.
The directives issued under section 154 of the Maharashtra Regional and Town Planning Act, 1966, state local bodies will have to send list of such FSI hike cases annually to the government and the director of town planning. The director of town planning will inspect 10% of these cases listed and report them to the government. “The chief minister is very clear the UDD should concern itself with policy-making and delegate remaining powers to local bodies. FSI is a town-planning tool and there should be greater flexibility to use it to the planning authority to speed up development,” said a senior bureaucrat.
However, some experts believe as corruption reported from local civic corporations and councils is quite high, granting of these crucial powers to these authorities may only add to their bargaining powers.