The real estate industry has welcomed the state government’s decision to set up a committee to review the existing Floor Space Index (FSI) policy.
Industry insiders contend that the current policy is too complex and has only retarded the city’s development. The FSI is the ratio of the total area of the building to the gross area of the plot on which it is built.
Anand Gupta, secretary, Builders’ Association of India, the apex body of the builders, told the Hindustan Times that the current FSI policy was absurd. He said that those residing in slums get higher FSI (4) while those living in well-maintained buildings are not given any extra FSI. “There is no uniformity and it gives incentives to the wrong people,” Gupta said.
The committee, to be headed by Chief Secretary J P Dange, was constituted after legislators across party lines decried the mushrooming growth of skyscrapers that was putting pressure on the infrastructure.
Pankaj Kapoor, managing director, Liasas Foras, a real estate research firm blamed the state for giving FSI on an ad-hoc basis and aggravating the problem. “The city has no master plan and permissions are given arbitrarily without giving any thought to existing infrastructure,” Kapoor said.
Mumbai is facing shortage of water and locals have been critical of the diversion of water to new towers. Sewage lines are also being burdened. Increasing vehicular traffic has caused traffic jams.
Managing Director, Keystone Builders, Boman Irani, said construction and infrastructure development should be linked. “Incentives like higher FSI will result in more affordable houses and the growth of slums will be controlled,” Irani said. “New constructions will only result in improved infrastructure.”
Housing activists, however, say the panel should frame strict rules to ensure that development does not cause hardships to citizens. “All issues like water supply, capacity of the drains and parking problems should be studied while framing the rules,” said Sridhar Sharma, president, Revathy Foundation, an organisation working in the housing sector. “Efforts should be made to ensure that quality of life is not disturbed.”