“According to our estimate, there are around 18 lakh residential units and almost 10 lakh commercial and industrial units in the BMC’s jurisdiction between Colaba and Dahisar in the western suburbs and Mulund in the east,” said deputy municipal commissioner Bapu Pawar. These include the 34,500-odd housing societies and over 14,000 cessed buildings and chawls in the island city. This high density development, say housing experts, paints a scary scenario. The figures exclude slums, illegal buildings.
Data procured from the BMC’s assessment and collection department reveals the city’s built-up growth pattern and speed of development. Pawar said the buildings are identified since they pay property tax to the corporation.
After the abolition of octroi, property tax is now the highest revenue earner for the BMC, fetching the civic administration Rs 4,809 crore last year. The two municipal wards of Andheri (K East and K West) alone contributed a stupendous Rs 861 crore.
Bandra (East), which falls under the H-East Ward, is the second highest property tax zone for the BMC, which collected Rs 426 crore in 2016-17. The large collection is mainly from the commercial business district of Bandra Kurla Complex, where some of the biggest corporate names occupying gleaming, glass-façade office buildings pay Rs 25 to over Rs 30 a square foot a month as property tax. This is the highest rate in the city. This ward has 11,242 buildings, show BMC records.
Andheri (West), which includes JVPD, Lokhandwala Complex and Versova, has seen rampant redevelopment of housing societies. The eastern part of this suburb has now emerged as a busy commercial hub. Housing experts said Andheri (West) has the largest construction volume in the city. Although it is not the largest ward in the city, it is the biggest in terms of buildable area. Andheri (West) is spread over an area of 24 sq km, of which the residential portion is 8.25 sq km.
“Andheri is the talent enclave of Mumbai. Be it those from production houses, animation, entertainment industry and corporates,” said Ramesh Nair, CEO and country head, JLL India, a global real estate services firm.
Andheri also has improved transport connectivity due to the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road and the Versova-Ghatkopar metro. Major MNCs, IT companies and corporates have shifted to Andheri (East), where office rentals are a lot cheaper than the other commercial hubs such as Bandra-Kurla Complex and Nariman Point.
“In the city’s new development plan, Andheri (West) has the highest number of layouts, exceeding 400, with large plots and recreational grounds,” said architect and housing activist P K Das.
Developer Nayan Shah said Andheri (West) has witnessed the highest construction growth because most of the transfer of development rights (TDR) generated through slum redevelopment is loaded in this area. “Ready reckoner rates too are high in Andheri (West),” he said.
The D Ward, which comprises areas such as Malabar Hill, Walkeshwar, Nepean Sea Road, Breach Candy and Altamount Road, fetched the BMC Rs 203 crore from 11,042 buildings last year. These areas have among the most expensive real estate in the country with property prices as high as over Rs 1 lakh a sq ft. However, since most of these landmark residential buildings are over 50-60 years old, the property tax levied is substantially lower.
The G-South Ward of Mahalaxmi-Parel with 8,236 buildings also contributes among the highest property tax in Mumbai. Last year, the BMC collected Rs 364 crore. This is mainly because of the new luxury skyscrapers and commercial towers that have proliferated on defunct textile mill plots.
“Mumbai’s landscape is undergoing tectonic shifts. It is an anarchic growth due to lack of planning and no comprehensive vision about the city’s built form environment,” said Das.
“Where is the infrastructure to support the rampant and haphazard development taking place in the city?” asked housing expert Chandrashekhar Prabhu. In the island city, for instance, rehabilitation of all the 14,000 old cessed buildings will require 30 crore sq ft of new construction, including the free sale component, he added.
Aneerudha Paul, director of Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture and Environmental Studies, said certain areas have grown exponentially over the years. The R-Central Ward, for instance, which covers Borivli, is among the fastest developing areas; it has the second largest number of buildings in the city at 28,171 after Andheri (West).
“Development in Mumbai is driven by market forces. It’s a complex pattern of development over which city planners have no control over,” said Paul.
During the previous financial year, the BMC assessed 25,097 new properties across the city. And this year, it hopes to earn Rs 5,131 crore by way of property tax.