Industry experts express contrary views on Mumbai’s new DPCR opening up locked lands

A crucial and voluminous section of Mumbai City’s master plan — or the Development Plan Control Regulations (DPCR) 2034 in bureaucratese — had been notified recently by the Maharashtra government on November 13, 2018. The new plan opens up 3,700 hectares of land for the residential real estate that was earlier categorised as a ‘No Development Zone’ (NDZ). Moreover, premium development costs — floor space index (FSI) also known as FAR — and ‘fungible’ area costs have been cut by 10% for residential development, expected to bring down property costs by nearly 5%.

While provisions of the plan to link permissible development rights or FSI to road width is expected to check congestion, aligning the definition of carpet area to Maha RERA’s is expected to bring uniformity in norms and make it easier for home buyers. The DCPR also aims to create 8 million jobs by increasing the supply of office space in the city.

In all, the new rules paint a rosy picture of a de-congested city, with adequate affordable housing, and a push to an all-round redevelopment with more office space and homes. While builders have been all praise, experts and activists have been more cautious and feel that there is hardly anything in it for the city’s people.

Maharashtra housing minister Prakash Mehta is optimistic: “We are focused on the building of affordable houses for the people and the new DCPR is expected to help the government achieve targets on that front quickly as all kinds of redevelopment work would get a boost.” Real estate consultancy firm Knight Frank too, has welcomed the plan saying that “it provides clarity and focus for the development of the city by taking steps in the right direction”.

According to Pankaj Kapoor, of Liases Foras, “In the latest notification, the government has reintroduced benefits for road and reservations under accommodation reservation policy. This change would boost DP implementation and creation of public amenities and infrastructure.” He also feels that redevelopment of difficult old or cessed buildings would attract developers since more transferable development rights (TDR) will be on offer.

However, architect and housing activist Chandrashekhar Prabhu is not so optimistic. “The new development plan is further catering to the builder lobby and will bring in a major disruption while adversely affecting the common man,” he said, adding that slums, dilapidated buildings, cooperative housing societies and government MHADA colonies cover almost 95 per cent of the residential area of Mumbai that has redevelopment potential.

“Several schemes were brought in to facilitate the increased supply of housing for the poor and middle class in the past 30 years, but that has miserably failed. DCPR 2034 is, in a way, an extension of another 20 years given to those failed schemes as it has made only a few cosmetic changes. The basis that ensured the failure of these schemes has remained unchanged,” Prabhu said.

Transition policy
According to the transition policy, the projects that have got Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s sanction under the earlier DCR 1991 need not get sanctioned again under the new DCPR 2034, unless there are substantial changes to these projects. These can be related to mandatory open spaces, or lift and lobby space requirements.

Source: The New Indian Express

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