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Study on how high Mumbai can grow

How much vertical development can a megapolis with more than 14 million people and already creaking infrastructure bear? Ketaki Ghoge reports.

mumbai Updated: May 14, 2010 01:53 IST
Ketaki Ghoge

How much vertical development can a megapolis with more than 14 million people and already creaking infrastructure bear?

The state has set up a committee to answer this question.

The committee, led by the Principal Secretary of the Urban Development Department (UDD), T.C. Benjamin, will study the current Floor Space Index (FSI) rules of the city with respect to the its infrastructure and recommend changes to the policy of vertical development.

The UDD finalised a government resolution on this on Thursday.

The nine-member committee comprises the municipal commissioner, housing secretary and fire advisor. It also includes two members nominated by the chairman of the BMC’s high-rise committee.

FSI refers to how high a developer can build a structure. It is the ratio of the built up area to the total area of the plot. The city and its suburbs have an FSI of around 2, the lowest among all global cities.

The committee will first look at the infrastructure’s carrying capacity and then study the existing FSI norms to suggest possible changes.

The decision was taken following Chief Minister Ashok Chavan’s assurance in the legislative Assembly last month during a discussion on the city’s skewed vertical development.

Many legislators had alleged that FSI granted under initiatives such as slum rehabilitation and exceptions made for five star hotels and education institutes had led to sky-high towers (with FSI of 5 to 10) without corresponding increase in infrastructure.

The committee is expected to submit the report in three months. It will also consider World Bank planners’ recommendations to the state government on vertical development.

The mandate of the committee is to “suggest FSI regime for the city with utmost regard to heritage aspect (sic) and the skyline and ambience of the city”.

“Existing FSI regime should be studied with its impact on environment and infrastructure,” it says.

The committee is likely to alter FSI rules such as granting higher FSI to business hubs and transit corridors and lower to residential complex.

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