Maha Govt Opened Up Large Tracts Of Industrial-use Land In MMR
The Maharashtra government opened up large tracts of industrial-use land in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) for residential and commercial development. The move allows unused industrial plots in MMR to be used for building houses, malls and offices with the approval of the civic commissioner and a payment of a premium 20% of the ready reckoner (RR) rate of the plot to the government.
The state’s urban development department (UDD) issued a final notification to its ‘Industrial to Residential’ policy for civic bodies of Thane, Kalyan-Dombivli, Mira-Bhayander, Ulhasnagar and Bhiwandi-Nizampur. These civic bodies share common development control rules (DCR) norms for construction and urban planning in an area. A separate notification was issued for the Navi Mumbai civic body.
The notification said that out of the total Floor Space Index (FSI) utilised for the development, a minimum of 25% is to be reserved for commercial development. Floor Space Index (FSI) typically indicates how high a developer can build on a plot. It is the ratio of total built-up area to the size of the plot.
The notification, however, made it clear that in cases where the industrial-use land had been originally acquired under the Land Acquisition Act, permission of the state government will be required.
The decision is being seen as a windfall for developers since it will open up several unused industrial plots across the seven cities for development, and also increase housing stock in MMR.
However, this may not translate into affordable homes for citizens. The notification states that “provision of inclusive housing shall not be applicable while allowing such conversion”. So while the state has made it mandatory that 20 per cent of the basic FSI utilised should be for building residential tenements with a built-up area of 30 sq mt and 50 sq mt (322 sq feet to 538 sq ft), the developer can sell these in the open market. That effectively means developers can join small flats and sell them.
A senior UDD official admitted that while a condition has been put in to ensure smaller tenements, it may not lead to affordable homes.
Director of Urban Design and Research Institute (UDRI) said that affordable homes can be built only by public agencies. The state could have made it mandatory to reserve a portion of this development for low-cost homes. These houses could have been handed over to MHADA, which could have auctioned them, he said.
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