Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mumbai has lowest FSI, says developer

The builder cartel has held prices to astronomical levels. The primary reason that the Mumbai lost its prime position of being a hi-tech city. 15 years go, SEEPZ used to be the center of all software exports. Thanks to the high land prices, everyone has moved to the south with some in Pune. Mumbai has lost its sheen for high value work. It is a city where the middle class has been priced out to distant suburbs once inhabited by the lower middle class. The lower middle class have become poor. Sad state to say the least.

MUMBAI: Mumbai has the lowest Floor Space Index (FSI) of 1.33 against an all-India average of 2.5 to 3. The city needs an FSI of at least five to ease the shortage of housing, a leading developer said on Friday.

FSI denotes the amount of construction that can be done on a given piece of land.

In Bangalore the FSI is 3.25, in Gurgaon near Delhi, the FSI is between 2.5 and 4, Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry Vice-President Sunil Mantri told reporters

Interestingly, in Hyderabad or the entire state of Andhra Pradesh there is nothing like FSI and one is free to construct whatever one wants.

Mantri recalled that even in Mumbai, till the mid 1970s the FSI used to be 4. Nariman Point was given an FSI of 4. However, the state government started reducing the FSI gradually from the mid-1970s coinciding with the introduction of Urban Land Ceiling Act.

Mantri said Mumbai needs an FSI of 5 to ease the housing shortage. The argument that the city does not have infrastructure to meet the needs of the higher FSI is not valid, he added.

Infrastructure can be created by imposing charges for new development. The reason the FSI is not being increased is due to lack of political will, he said.

According to Mantri, higher FSI is an accepted norm globally. In Dubai, he said the FSI given works out to between 8 and 34, in Hong Kong, it is between 8 and 20. In Manhattan; New York, it is 30.

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