The revised draft development plan (RDDP) for Mumbai which has proposed floor space index (FSI) alterations for residential and commercial structures has drawn sharp reactions from town planners and political quarters, who have dubbed it as an attempt to destroy open spaces in the megapolis.
BMC chief Ajoy Mehta had yesterday presented RDDP-2034 for Mumbai and proposed a uniform FSI of 2 for residential buildings and FSI of up to 5 for commercial structures, thus paving way for sky-scrapers across the city.
The FSI is the ratio of a building's total floor area to the size of the piece of land upon which it is built. While Congress and NCP, the main opposition parties in BMC, termed the draft as "an unfortunate attempt to destroy Mumbai's open spaces".
"In the name of development, BMC is setting out to destroy Mumbai's remaining open spaces. It's a very unfortunate move by Sena-BJP that too just a year ahead of the municipal polls," former Union Minister Milind Deora told PTI.
The ex-MP from South Mumbai also lambasted the proposal to increase FSI, saying "the increase in FSI is without an impact assessment study which all cities around the world conduct before arbitrarily raising FSI."
However, BJP hailed the plan, saying it would turn "congested Mumbai into comfortable Mumbai", while its ruling ally in the civic body Shiv Sena said all the aspects of the plan would be considered before final approval.
"This proposal has been brought to solve the woes of lakhs and lakhs of people living in chawls and slums. It's an effort to uplift their conditions and convert congested Mumbai into comfortable Mumbai," Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar said.
"With this balanced draft policy having an environment friendly initiative and meticulous planning, No-Business Mumbai has will be pushed towards becoming a Business-Incentive Mumbai," Shelar said.
Shiv Sena group leader in BMC Trishna Vishwasrao said if there were mistakes in the draft policy, it would be corrected.
"Let all go in the fine print of the draft policy. It would come up in the House next month and then objection and suggestions from the public would also be invited. We will consider all the aspects before finally sending it to the government for the final approval," she said.
In RDDP-2034, the civic body has also proposed to remove restrictions in No Development Zone (NDZ) areas and divide it in three parts-- 33 per cent for open spaces, 33 per cent for affordable housing and 34 per cent for owners to construct saleable buildings.
NCP leader and former Maharashtra housing minister Sachin Ahir urged the civic body to refrain from making any changes in NDZ, which is already under the scrutiny of Bombay High Court.
"So far as I recollect, NDZ issued is already being heard in High Court, so any move in this regard would cause problems to municipal administration as well as to the government because court may reverse government's decision as it has already done in so many cases," he said.
"Opening the NDZ for the construction would mean to choke the lungs of Mumbai, bringing unwarranted consequences and would further lead towards crumbling infrastructure," Ahir said.
Instead, the government and the civic body should do something concrete on private reports which say that over one lakh homes are lying unsold in the city, he added.
Noted town planner and former Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) president Chandrasekhar Prabhu flagged concern over the "indiscriminate" increase in density of FSI, which he said would be "disastrous".
"The proposed DCRs (development control rules) are incomplete because BMC has merely increased FSI and has not mentioned the conditions for these increases.
"FSI increase for existing residents without increase in density is not objectionable. However, indiscriminate increase in density and FSI would be disastrous. Similarly increase in commercial FSI can have consequences which have to be examined and tested. Without a proper study these can be counter productive," Prabhu told PTI.