The development plan (DP) 2034 proposes to give floor space index (FSI) in the range of 3.5 to 6.5 — a 100-150% rise from the earlier cap of 1-3 — to the Mumbai’s coastline from Marine Drive to Andheri.
Sheer numbers may make it seem like a good option for vertical growth in a space-starved city like Mumbai, but experts say it effectively means the BMC plans to allow skyscrapers for the rich to dot the coastline, with little or no consideration to affordable housing.
FSI is the ratio of the total buildable area on a plot. For construction or revamp along the Churchgate to Marine Drive stretch, the BMC proposes to give an FSI of 6.5, from the current 2-3. The stretch from Marine Lines to Charni Road station may get an FSI of 5 and Worli sea face will get an FSI of 6.5, from the current FSI cap of 1.33. Other areas such as Walkeshwar Road, Malabar Hill and Raj Bhavan have been given an FSI of 3.5 — from the current less than 1.33.
Shivaji Park area has been granted an FSI of 3.5, from the current range of 1.33-2. The stretch along the mayor’s bungalow to Mahim, sea link end at Bandra, Juhu Tara road and Versova have been given an FSI of 3.5 in the proposed plan.
“Higher FSI for sea-facing areas will mean more space for the rich. The BMC’s argument is the higher FSI will lead to skyscrapers, which will in turn house more people, and make public transport accessible to a large number of people. But the BMC has no plans to make housing affordable in these areas, and the rich living here are unlikely to use public transport. So, the effort is useless,” said Husain Indorewala, professor, Kamala Nehru Architecture College, and member of Humara Shehar Vikas Yojana.
The move may mean development of the areas occupied by the fishermen and other small communities. The DP also gives an FSI of 3.5 to the Juhu beach and the Dadar Chowpatty. “It is surprising the beaches have been given an FSI,” said PK Das, an architect.
The architects of the proposed development plan deny any such possibility. “Our aim is to make public transport accessible to a large number of people,” said a member.