In a move aimed at giving city planners more leeway in deciding how Mumbai should grow, the state has decided to do away with the blanket low floor space index (FSI) across the city. This means many more skyscrapers could sprout up in business hubs and along major roads, where the planners see a need. FSI is the ratio of permissible built-up area to the size of the plot it is built on. Mumbai is the only global city with an FSI as low as 1.33 for the island city and 1 for the suburbs.
Urban planners have for long advised the state to do away with a blanket ban on vertical development, which is also a long-standing demand of corporate houses and real estate developers, to enable the city’s growth as a regional financial hub in Asia.
“For years, we tried to keep the city’s population under control by keeping an artificial restriction of low FSI. We are now being pragmatic... the population is going to grow. In the Development Plan (DP) for the city [2014-34], we are going to introduce variable FSI,” civic chief Sitaram Kunte said on Friday, at the ‘Mumbai Next: Transforming MMR into a global financial, commercial and entertainment hub’ conference that was jointly organised by the government and Mumbai First — an initiative of Mumbai Inc.
While Kunte refused to divulge details, sources in the state secretariat told HT that higher FSI will be proposed along transit nodes such as metro corridors and in business hubs. “There will be a base FSI for the city, but probably higher than what it is now. We are looking at offering higher FSI in exchange for a premium along transit nodes and business hubs such as Andheri (West) and Lower Parel. It will help us monetise the value of land, similar to what the MMRDA is doing at BKC,” said a senior state official.
The FSI decision was not the only one on agenda, as the CM plans to revamp the MMR as a major financial and entertainment hub. To achieve this dream, Maharshtra’s first smart city will be developed at BKC and an entertainment hub will be set up at Film City in Goregaon, with its masterplan being ratified by actor Amitabh Bachchan, who was present at Friday’s event.
Besides, five new business hubs will be created in Mumbai and the MMR – Wadala, Kanjurmarg, Virar, Bhiwandi and Kalyan – along with a new satellite city comprising 30 new towns to be built across 600 sq km at the Navi Mumbai Airport Influence Notified Area (NAINA).
“If we need to create new urban economic centres, we need quick decision-making. We have decided to begin construction of the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link this year and the coastal road project will be completed in two years. The new airport will be operational by 2019 and NAINA will be set up. There will be ease in doing business and there will be accountability if there are delays. It may be ambitious, but we are setting clear deadlines for ourselves,” said Fadnavis, who spent the entire Friday at the conclave, listening to three panel discussions on transforming Mumbai.
The high-profile event was also attended by Union urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu, minister of state (MoS) for finance Jayant Sinha, industrialists Mukesh Ambani and Jamshyd Godrej, TV producer Ekta Kapoor, World Bank country head Onno Ruhl, top bankers and all senior state government officials.