Redevelopment work on 16,000 cessed buildings in South Mumbai is stuck because of constantly changing government policies, mainly the fungible FSI, which most developers term "wrong".
Anand Gupta, secretary of the builder association of India, said the government was responsible for the current mess in the real estate. "Tenants or occupants of cess buildings used to get a carpet area of 225sqft after redevelopment," he said.
"This was changed to first 300sqft and then 400sqft. There is no fixed policy. And this has affected the redevelopment work, forcing people to stay in dilapidated buildings."
Almost 2.5 million people live in 400,000 houses spread across these buildings.
According to development control rule, 33 (7), a developer can get an FSI of three, while 33 (9) meant for cluster redevelopment specifies an FSI of four. And these against the normal FSI of 1.33 for South Mumbai.
"All government decisions are political without any touch with the ground reality," Gupta said. "And because of this tenants as well as developers suffer. With elections slated for 2014, most occupants are hoping that the government would announce an increase in carpet area (500sqft)."
"The government should be firm... It should also give a five-year deadline to developers," Gupta said.
Senior civic officials say most developers submitted their proposal almost five years ago. "But rules have changed and these developers do not appear to be serious about redevelopment work," an official said.
Milind Samel, senior architect, said developers used to provide elevation features (balcony, flower beds etc) in the past without paying any premium to the government. "As per the new policy of fungible FSI, a developer has to pay for balconies and flower beds," he said. "So, instead of a balcony, developers are increasing the size of the house. As a result, we are losing the character and beauty of the city. Most buildings will be block-like structures similar to Mhada buildings."
Amin Patel, congress MLA from South Mumbai, said new DCR rules have blocked the redevelopment of the city. He said he had complained to the chief minister about redevelopment of cessed buildings in South Mumbai. "I have asked the government to exclude staircases, passage ways, lobby area and flower beds while counting the FSI. In that case, people will get bigger houses. Also, parking is another major issue. The government has allowed only one parking for every eight houses in redeveloped buildings. But every house should get a parking slot. Cars are no more a luxury... They are now a necessity. The government should tweak its policy accordingly."