Builders refuse to hand over 50 PPLs to BMC
Even as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has rolled out its plan to impose hefty fines for illegal parking, it is yet to receive 50 of the 79 public parking lots (PPLs) approved by the parking committee. Reason: Many builders are applying to cancel their letters of intent (LOI) to construct the PPLs, owing to the heavy premium on incentive floor space index (FSI) in exchange of the PPL construction.
The 50 PPLs – 29 located in island city, 13 in western suburbs and 8 in eastern suburbs – have a collective parking capacity of 31,235 vehicles.
A civic official from the traffic department said, “Initially, builders were offered 50% incentive FSI without premium for the PPL to be constructed. In 2012, the state added a 40% premium on the incentive FSI and in 2016, this was increased to 60%.”
Whenever a builder wants to avail extra FSI benefits, he has to present the plan to the parking committee. The traffic police, BMC and state urban planning panel then study the location and approve the incentive FSI if the area needs a PPL. “Many builders who have not yet used constructed the PPL are applying for cancellations. Once they apply, we check with the proposal department whether the incentive FSI has been used. If it hasn’t, the cancellation is accepted,” said the civic official.
An architect, who has applied for cancellation on behalf of a builder, said, “The problem is the additional premium, which wasn’t there when the scheme was first introduced. Moreover, buyers are not interested in buildings with PPLs as they raise safety concerns.”
Another architect, who has also applied for cancellation, said, “Earlier, builders wanted to construct PPL because of incentive FSI free of premium. [Owing to the increased premiums], some builders now prefer to opt for other schemes where they get FSI for a cheaper cost,” said.
However, additional municipal commissioner Vijay Singhal said that not all builders are seeking cancellations. “It is true that some builders want to cancel their LOIs, but there are others who are still keen on the project. Over the last two years, we have even approved requests for new incentive FSI in exchange for PPLs. Those who have completed construction of PPL and used up the incentive FSI have to hand over the PPL.”