Floor space index rule relaxed; Revision sets off debate

Chennai: The State Cabinet recently relaxed several restrictions in the newly-proposed FSI (floor space index) rules owing to the flak it had received following the revision. It has to be noted that the maximum FSI area has been increased to 1.75.

A petition was filed by K P Subramanian, a retired Anna University professor, objecting to the move.

Despite more than 10 years passing since the Second Master Plan for the Chennai Metropolitan Area came into operation, there has been no further review of the plan as mandated under section 32(2) of the Tamilnadu Town and Country Planning Act, 1971. Indeed, no study has been instituted with a view to changing / altering any of the norms as prescribed under the Second Master Plan, stated the petition.

Experts state that the move certainly is welcome as the scope for city re-development would be aplenty as in the case of the Middle-East, which is currently undergoing reformation.

“The government expects that the move would bring down the price of an apartment which is the stated reason behind the revision. Now that the land-owners know that they can build more units on the same piece of land and if they start expecting a higher price, it will become counter-productive. The purpose of revising FSI would be defeated if the land price goes up,” said realtor Navin’s managing director, R Kumar.

However, experts point out the detrimental effects of implementation without upgrading the city’s infrastructure.
“The impugned government order further states that the said increase in FSI would come into effect from 1 October, 2018. However, as per section 32 of the Tamilnadu Town and Country Planning Act, 1971, read with section 30, any modification would come into effect only from the date of publication of the notification in the government gazette. Further, the CMDA has already given effect to the increased FSI, though the notification is yet to be published in the gazette. However, it remains that the FSI once given effect to, becomes irreversible,” said the petitioner.

“Increasing the built-up area without having a check on road width, sewerage system, water supply, traffic, transportation, et al., would not be fruitful. The government should invest in developing the infrastructure to cope with the increasing demand,” said Sam Ponraj, an architect and a member of NGO Arappor Iyakkam.

Kumar suggests that although it is difficult to control, land prices should be kept in check. “If implemented, usage of public transportation should be preferred over private vehicles as the State would witness the development of more apartments in the same plot. This way the roads can be used efficiently,” he added.

Bhavani Prabhakar