In a recent move, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has stated that the floor space index (FSI) would remain unchanged for old properties in the city that are being redeveloped and that no additional FSI would be allocated for the same. The real estate developers, however, say it is uneconomical to redevelop these old and dilapidated properties with the existing FSI. Ranjit Naiknavare, Director, Naiknavare Developers, says, “Unlike Mumbai, where the state government is clear about giving additional FSI for redevelopment of old structures, Pune has no such policy.” He further observes that the need is to look at it from a positive point of view as it's not a slum development plan, besides the individuals staying in a property have paid and are legitimate owners. “There should be some incentive for stakeholders, including the residents.There would be no additional benefit for a developer to undertake redevelopment. A developer is not short-sighted enough to buy TDR and then reconstruct, besides making arrangement for temporary settlement of residents for a minimum period of at least two years while they undertake redevelopment activity. There is no merit in doing this unless additional FSI is given. This is, however, a commercial issue,” he says. In a similar vein, Atul Goel, MD, Goel Ganga Group, says,”Redevelopment is a very tedious, troublesome procedure, unlike ordinary development. It involves taking a bunch of people with you, carrying them together before the redevelopment takes place. So, it's a humungous task. So just like Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) project, if there is some incentive then redevelopment holds meaning.” Of late, there have been talks that the rules for FSI in old city areas should be flexible enough to do justice to local peculiarities as the density of population in gaothan areas of the city has rendered redevelopment of properties. Naiknavare says, “In a (redevelopment) policy in Mumbai, one of the preconditions is that 2/3rd or 70 per cent of the members must agree to undertaking of redevelopment process. However, in the context of Pune, that policy is not being implemented, which means a developer has to seek 100 per cent permission from members of a structure to be redeveloped. Now, this a stumbling block as what should happen in a case where the property owner is staying overseas? The government, however, is aware, but it all depends on how it feels about the need to decentralise existing structures or buildings in the city centre are not under threat. “Mumbai is an older city and there are several dilapidated and decrepit structures that pose a threat to human life and limb, so the government took a call. It would be short-sighted on the part of the government to not consider several areas in the old or original Pune, such as Shaniwar Peth that has old wadas or dilapidated structures that redevelopment is not necessary.” Similarly, Kruti Jain, Director, Kumar Urban Development Ltd, points out that this is a retrograde step. “This will not help the urban development process. Allowing redevelopment of dilapidated buildings with concessions like extra FSI is a must.” Already some organisations have demanded additional FSI for redevelopment. Justifying the need for sanctioning additional FSI to developers for housing schemes for low-income groups, these organisations have stated that additional FSI has been granted to slum redevelopment schemes as well as banks and for the IT industries. Kumar Gera, Chairman and MD, Gera Developments, says, “In the case of Pune, the decision is based on the fact that not many dangerous structures exist as in the case of Mumbai. However, a sound decision can be arrived at only if a proper statistics report has been formulated about various old structures in Pune. There are many issues involved in this, such as old tenants' issues and rates get mixed up with redevelopment. Whatever it may be, a holistic manner needs to be adopted so that various stakeholders involved in redevelopment get a fair deal.” In addition to this, a further decision has been taken that the new development control (DC) rules for redevelopment could be incorporated in the new development plan (DP) of the old city. “I fail to understand why there is such a conservative view on redevelopment. I do hope government takes a practical call on this,” Goel says. Endorsing similar views, Naiknavare says, “I hope some wisdom would prevail and the administration realises that at least in areas where redevelopment is actually required it initiates requisite policies.” Jain is, meanwhile, of the view that the PMC must rethink its decision and permit extra FSI so that developers will come forward and participate in the process of redevelopment. QUICK BYTES ACCORDING TO DEVELOPERS, REDEVELOPMENT HOLDS MEANING PROVIDED THERE IS SOME INCENTIVE FOR THEM TO UNDERTAKE SUCH A PROJECT THE PMC MUST RETHINK ITS DECISION AND PERMIT EXTRA FSI SO THAT DEVELOPERS WILL COME FORWARD AND PARTICIPATE IN THE PROCESS OF REDEVELOPMENT, SAY DEVELOPERS
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