By Accommodation Times Bureau
The BMC’s draft Development Plan (DP) 2014-2034 now includes a proposal for the redevelopment of old buildings that fall in Mumbai’s airport’s “funnel zone”—the approach path of low-flying aircraft. This is the first time in India that a civic body has proposed that buildings that face height restrictions because of their proximity to an airport be identified and put into a separate category for special privileges to make redevelopment financially viable for builders and residents.
A majority of buildings in the funnel zone, especially those in Vile Parle and Santacruz, are 40 to 50 years old and are in dire need of redevelopment. But no builder would take up such a project as FSI available for redevelopment cannot be fully used because of height restrictions imposed by the Airports Authority of India.
So, funnel zone residents have demanded that their buildings be categorized as ‘Public Infrastructure Affected Zone’ and the government provide an increased base FSI that can be sold as TDR to recover redevelopment costs of height-restricted structures.
On July 31, a week after the TOI report, a provision was added to the DP draft by corporators at the very last moment. The second-last item (number 265) on the draft DP states that funnel zone buildings be identified separately in the suburban cluster development plan. “In order to make redevelopment financially viable, it is proposed that TDR be given at the ready reckoner rate applicable to the area.”
Municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta said, “For instance, if the ready reckoner rate in Vile Parle is Rs 100 per sq ft and the TDR is being used in Borivli, where the rate is Rs 50 per sq ft, then you can build 2 sq ft.”
Architect Shrikrishna Shevade said, “We met Mehta in January because no special provisions for funnel zone buildings were in the proposed Development Control (DC) rules. He agreed with us. Later, we met a number of top bureaucrats and DP recommendation committee members. But when in March the panel submitted its report, there was nothing for funnel zone buildings. So we met the corporators, and all supported us. On July 31, improvements committee chairman Bala Nar included our proposal in the DP recommendations hours before the DP draft was cleared by the civic general body.”
Vishwajit Bhide, an affected resident, said, “We are happy we’ve won the first leg of our battle. Many buildings are beyond repair and need to be redeveloped on priority. Being a taxpayer, we are expecting the state government to look at this issue in a sympathetic and rational way.”
Shevade said, “The average size of a housing plot in Vile Parle is 500 sq m and it would take about Rs 12.5 crore for demolition, rehabilitation and reconstruction. Without TDR, this is not an option that the residents, mostly senior citizens, could have afforded.”