Mumbai: Open spaces will cost BMC Rs 6,000 crore

May 30, 2016, 08:28 IST | Tanvi Deshpande

Implementing the entire development plan 2014-2034 will cost the civic body a total of Rs 14 lakh crore; BMC aims to generate this whopping sum through premiums, public-private partnerships and budgetary allocations

Let’s be clear about this. The revised draft Development Plan (DP) 2014-2034 is not going to be easy on the pockets. Its implementation will cost the BMC a whopping Rs 14 lakh-crore.

BMC needs to acquire 19.17 million sq m for open spaces and cemeteries
BMC needs to acquire 19.17 million sq m for open spaces and cemeteries

The estimate is based on the cost of acquisition of land for various reservations, road widening, road construction and building construction. The creation of open spaces alone is going to cost R6,000 crore.

The civic body aims at generating the large sum of money through premiums, public-private partnerships and budgetary allocations.

A DP is the most important planning document for a city and is a blueprint that governs the development of real estate. The BMC is in the process of finalising the revised draft, which will be made available on its website this week.
Citizens will be given two months to offer suggestions on the draft DP.

DPs have been a sore point with the BMC. Previous DPs were not fully implemented due to several constraints, one of them being money. The DPs reserved large plots of land for amenities and open spaces, but since the BMC had neither the money nor a sound TDR policy, many of these plots were never acquired. Just 36% of the 1967 DP and 33% of the 1991 DP were implemented.

The BMC benefits from a DP through ‘DP receipts’. These include development charges, premium charges and fungible FSI. In 2014-15, the civic body earned Rs 5,000 crore through DP receipts, while it earned R4,732 crore in 2015-16. The revenue generated through a DP is second only to octroi.

BMC says
“Although the figure sounds gigantic, we need to understand that it is the estimated cost were the DP to be implemented monetarily. But in this case, our entire thrust is on accommodation reservation (AR), which is the only way to make the DP sustainable. Otherwise, even this DP will not be thoroughly implemented. We are encouraging participatory regulation,” said municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta.

Elaborating on this concept, Officer on Special Duty (DP revision) Ramnath Jha said, “The idea is to give the land owner more than what he would have otherwise got had his land not come under reservation. The BMC does not have to make up for these costs from its budget estimates. AR will take care of upto 80% of the total estimate. The civic body will only have to take care of those plots where the developer has not stepped forward or there is municipal/government land.”

According to Jha, the figure includes the development rights the civic body will give away in lieu of open spaces and amenity plots.

How will BMC pay for it?
The BMC has devised a golden concept of ‘accommodation reservation’ (AR). Through this, it will actually have to pay for only 5% of reserved land, 15% of building construction and 20% of open space and cemetery development.

In AR, private land owners will be given incentive FSI to hand their land over for public use. They will get full development rights to the size of their original plots. Besides, if they agree to build that amenity for the BMC, they will get 0.5 times the TDR (transfer of development rights). This concept will allow the BMC to pay in terms of ‘development rights’, instead of money.

Money will only have to be paid if the plot owner does not agree to construct the amenity. The same goes for road construction and widening.

‘Wasteful’ space of octroi nakas may go
Soon, you may be able to build your office or store on top of an octroi naka. The DP 2014-2034 will allow utilisation of the full potential of the land where such octroi collection centres are situated. This means the land can be developed as per the zonal FSI. The collection centre will be located on the ground floor and offices, shops or other commercial structures can be located on the upper floors.

“It is, hence, proposed to mark them as octroi-cum-commercial spaces. They could then use their full potential, combining functions of octroi collection and transportation as well as provision of commercial and office space for revenue generation,” says the DP document.

Officer on Special Duty (DP revision) Ramnath Jha said, “The idea is to allow offices, stores and other commercial structures on top, much like the airport. This will add to the BMC’s revenue.”

Drawing up the estimate
The high expenditure estimate comes from the draft DP 2014-2034 itself. According to a chapter in it — titled ‘Financing the DP’ — the expenditure on physical and social infrastructure was poor in the previous two DPs, which brought down the overall implementation.

The BMC needs to acquire 59.43 million sq m of land for public use by 2034. Of this, 19.17 million sq m is for open spaces and cemeteries. The BMC has arrived at the figure of R14.15 lakh-crore based on the prices of 2013-14. This is the total volume of money required to implement the DP in terms of hard cash.

Did you know?
The city has octroi nakas in various locations, mainly Chembur, Dahisar and Mulund.

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