The two housing societies in Worli, which got nearly 30% of their buildable area from the floor space index (FSI) of an adjoining open space, had initially expressed interest in developing this open spaces plot as a public garden, reveal documents with HT.
In August 2000, the then island city collector had written to the revenue ministry’s joint secretary mapping the area that the two societies, Sukhada and Shubhada, had identified to be developed as garden.
As per this letter, the 32-storey Shubhada society was to get 1,423 sq m of the open space while the 14-storey Sukhada was to get 1,590 sq m to develop as public garden.
There is no mention in this letter of the two societies, formed by politicians, wanting to use the FSI of this open space to build more flats for legislators.
Two years after this letter was sent, in 2002, the state government issued a notification that de-reserved the open space plot and allowed its FSI to be transferred to the two societies, but without putting the onus of developing the plot into garden onto the two societies.
Not surprising then that neither housing society has bothered to develop this strip of land, which now lies unused and unmaintained.
The two societies, which had a plot area of 12,103 sq m, got 4,893 sq m of additional FSI from this plot.
Ranjit Deshmukh, Shubhada chairman and former state Congress chief, said the plot had been lying unused for more than five decades when they sent in a request.
“The civic body was supposed to plant trees, but hadn’t done so for years. As there was no way in which the public could make use of it anyway, we asked the state to allow us to use the FSI of the plot,” he said.
Activist-lawyer YP Singh, who has been instrumental in bringing this issue to light along with aide and activist Amit Maru, said: “This was a cunning exercise to extract the FSI from the plot, which they could not have got had it not been for such a reasoning.
The development of the garden was a pretext to use the additional FSI and bypass green norms.”