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Extra FSI will make room for police, feels govt

The government is ready to provide extra Floor Space Index (FSI) to private developers to resolve the housing problems in the police force in Mumbai.

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The government is ready to provide extra Floor Space Index (FSI) to private developers to resolve the housing problems in the police force in Mumbai. On the lines of the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) pattern which promises 250 sqft houses, the government wants to hand over a part of the old police colonies/dilapidated structures to private players.

On Friday, the Deputy Chief Minister and Home Minister RR Patil saw the presentation made by private developers at Mantralaya. The entire police top brass and bureaucrats in the home ministry, including Additional Chief Secretary (Home Department) Chitkala Zhutshi and former Commissioner of Police MN Singh, also attended the presentation.

Patil said, “Sixty per cent police personnel in Mumbai are homeless. There is an acute housing shortage and we are exploring ways to meet the challenge. On the lines of the Dharavi slum redevelopment, it is felt we should provide extra FSI (2.5 to 4) to developers and get 225 sqft houses to accommodate the police force.”

The total strength of the force at present is 1.5 lakh. The government has been able to provide homes to only 60,000. The low salary earned by lower-ranking police personnel makes it impossible for them to afford good houses within the city premises.

A senior home department officer said, “The police have to be on call 24 hours a day. The shortage of police has driven them to work without rest for two weeks at a stretch for an average 14 hours a day.” To make matters worse most of the policemen live in the extended suburbs, making commuting difficult during an emergency.

At the housing presentation, the emphasis was on adopting the cluster approach to ensure overall redevelopment of houses, including infrastructure. It was estimated that if the government takes up the redevelopment project between Metro, Kalbadevi, Commissioner of Police (Headquarters) in south Mumbai, there is a possibility to raise Rs45,000 crore.

Without any cross-subsidy, the government can accomplish its police housing project for all by providing extra FSI to private players.

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