Activists protest CM's proposal to increase FSI by 33 per cent, say tall structures will increase congestion on ground, destroy quality of life
The Maharashtra Chief Minister's proposal to increase Floor Space Index (FSI) in the suburbs by 33 per cent hasn't gone down well with city activists, who have shot off a letter to him and the Municipal Commissioner, asking them to rethink their decision.
Pic /Suresh KK
Floor Space Index (FSI) is the ratio between the built up area allowed and plot area available. If the CM's decision came into effect, it would mean that buildings will grow taller.
Fourteen activists, including Anil Galgali, Hema Sampat, Rajan Mehrotra, and Cypriano J Saldanha, have written to CM Prithviraj Chavan and Subodh Kumar stating that an increase in FSI will lead to a dip in the quality of life in the city, since an increase in high rises will result in increased congestion of people and vehicle on the ground.
On October 20, the CM had proposed that suburban builders could avail of an increased FSI of 1.33 on the payment of a premium. The current permissible FSI limit is 1 in the suburbs and 1.33 in the island city.
"Allowing further vertical growth of this city will increase the density of human and vehicle population, thereby increasing congestion at ground level. You cannot improve quality of life by increasing congestion, no matter what clever arguments are used to justify it. The only beneficiaries of your decision, Sir, will be builders and their investors," the later dated October 27, 2011 reads.
"Mumbai has one-tenth of the minimum per capita open space that a city should have. Like fresh air and water, open spaces are a key requirement for physical and mental health. Protecting open spaces is a constitutional duty of your government, as it is part of our fundamental right to life and liberty. You cannot barter away our life and liberty for raising government revenues," it continued.
One of the signatories, G V Vora said that the move smacked of the government's lack of will to take stringent action against irregularities committed by builders.
"If the government checks builders who misuse FSI, such decisions would not have been taken," he said. Vora said more activists are expected to join the protest.
The activists claimed that unrestrained development of flyovers, foot over bridges and other facilities hasn't done much to improve the quality of life in Mumbai.
"Although traffic flyovers, foot over bridges and other facilities have been built in recent years, the quality of life is deteriorating alarmingly. Footpaths, shop frontages, usable road margins, recreation grounds and the compounds of private buildings are vanishing under the pressure of increasing numbers of people, private vehicles, hawkers, encroachers and the debris of construction work. Sir, we cannot walk and breathe!" the letter stated.
However, a builder speaking to Sunday MiDDAY, on condition of anonymity, said that more FSI was a necessity. "We need more FSI since this will help us accommodate more people. However, everyone has a right to say whatever they want to. It's up to the government to take a note of them."
The CM remained unreachable for comment.