Resident associations have raised objections to a section of the new Development Plan (DP)-2034 for Mumbai, which they claim, will transform the residential areas in the city into commercial and business zones.
A city-based NGO has written a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, requesting him to drop the section 33(19) of DP-2034. The NGO, Citizen Civic Solutions Foundation, claims to represent resident associations and is engaged in addressing issues of public interest.
In its letter, the NGO has stated that in the section, it is clearly stated how much additional FSI can be provided to big projects in a Central Business District (CBD). FSI (floor space index) is the ratio of the total permissible constructible area to the area of the plot.
For instance, if the FSI in a certain location is 1.5, it means if there is a 1,000 sq ft plot, the total floor area cannot exceed 1,500 sq ft. “However, the rule number 5 of the section also states provision of additional FSI for residential areas. The rule states that if the municipal commissioner deems necessary, any plots, irrespective of their private or residential status, can be provided an additional FSI on the basis of the CBD on that plot,” the NGO stated in its letter.
The section, if implemented, will transform the residential areas into commercial and business zones and also lead to lesser revenues for the government, the NGO said. “Thus, it clearly appears the government can allot or deny allotment of an additional FSI on whichever projects it wants. This has given way to possibility of corruption, leading to lesser revenues for the government,” it added.
The NGO’s spokesperson, Mitesh Prajapati, said currently, the FSI is limited to residential areas, commercial plots and private plots. “FSI is limited in South Mumbai and other areas of the city. But according to the new DP, if there is a plot larger than 3,000 sqm above a small road, then it can get 5 FSI,” he said.
He added that there are several civic issues like small roads and complex sewage system and if commercial buildings are permitted in residential zones, it will lead to more problems in the city like a rise in crimes, accidents, water scarcity and limited means of public transport, Prajapati said.
“If the new DP is implemented, it will not be surprising to find high-rise buildings suddenly coming up in the already congested and infrastructure-challenged corners of the city,” he said.
Minister of State for Urban Development Ranjit Patil said a “constitutional process” was followed during the making of the DP and the BMC had invited suggestions and objections before finalising its draft.
The government has formed a four-member committee to look into the draft and after necessary changes, it will be given final approval by the government, the minister said. He said resident associations should have raised their suggestions/objections when the BMC had asked for them.
“However, we are still willing to patiently hear them out. They can come and meet me and I will convey their suggestions/objections to the scrutinising committee and the provisions of the DP can be given a re-look,” Patil said.