Mumbai: Blaze lights a fire under misuse of additional FSI in Kamala Mills
Report mentions Kamala Mills owners have used commercial areas beyond the permissible Floor Space Index limit
After the fire, allegations were made about the misuse of additional FSI given to Kamala Mills owners. File pic
Apart from pointing out the restaurant owners' faults, the BMC's investigation report into the Kamala Mills fire has also highlighted the rampant misuse of Development Control Regulations (DCR)-58, under which the redevelopment of the erstwhile cotton textile mill has taken place. The report has categorically stated that its owners have used commercial areas beyond the permissible Floor Space Index (FSI) limit.
After the fire, allegations were made about the misuse of additional FSI given to Kamala Mills owners for developing Information Technology (IT) and IT enabled service (ITES) users in premises. Political leaders like BJP chief Ashish Shelar had pointed out this commercial exploitation. According to data available with G-south ward, at least 30 licensed eateries are running in the compound.
Double the FSI
The investigation report says, "Kamala Mills owners applied for redevelopment under state government's IT policy. Following which, the owner was granted additional FSI of 1.33 for developing IT offices and other services."
As per the DCR, previously, land development in the island city was eligible for 1.33 FSI. This means an open plot can be developed vertically 1.33 times of its original area. Since Kamala Mills was granted additional 1.33 FSI, it has developed the mill land using a total of 2.66 FSI. A senior civic official said, "Under the IT and ITES users policy, if land is developed for IT offices, then owners are entitled to various concessions in development, like incentive FSI. In addition to this, there is also a provision for using 20 per cent of the incentive area for commercial purposes. Also, at many places, the space given for running canteen in the offices has been turned into restaurants."
Could there be more violations? The report hints, "It is observed that there may be further violations of floor space index or addition, alteration without approvals. It needs to be checked whether the various activities/uses running in the compound are as per state's IT policy." Municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta has proposed to conduct a separate inquiry into the violations with the help of state's IT department and submit a report in the next three months. Mumbai has a total of 56 textile mills that occupied 600 acres land. However, only 17 mill plots are left for redevelopment.
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