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August 6, 2014

WB Govt formulates urban development policy

WB Govt formulates urban development policy

The Mamata Banerjee led West Bengalgovernment has come up with a policy for the urban development department. Thepolicy includes increasing the floor area ratio (FAR) for all kinds ofbuildings in the state, including old buildings that are occupied by tenants.Also under the new policy, township projects, logistic hubs, terminal hubs andother transport projects will be entitled to relaxation under Sec 14Y of theLand Reforms Act.

The state cabinet on Tuesday officiallyapproved the policy. “There was no policy for the urban development departmentso far. We held 30 meetings over the last year and discussed with a widesection of experts, like members of CREDAI (Confederation of Real EstateDevelopers' Associations of India), before finalizing the policy. We will takefurther inputs from stakeholders to give a final shape to the policy,” said StateFinance Minister Amit Mitra, who, along with Urban Development Minister FirhadHakim, was in the group of ministers to come up with the policy .

The government will issue a notification onthe policy in a few days. “The small municipalities will be allowed a year andthe municipal corporations about six months to follow and implement thepolicy,” Hakim said.

Stating some of the salient points of the policy,Dr Mitra said there has been a 31% increase in urban population from 2001 to2011. “Keeping this in mind, an additional 10% FAR will be allowed for allgreen buildings,” Dr Mitra said. The municipal affairs department will approvethe FAR.

Image courtesy: The Times of India

Most importantly, an additional 100% FARwill be allowed for buildings that are more than 50 years old and have beenpartly or fully occupied by tenants. The buildings will be identified asdangerous buildings by the municipal affairs department and if the tenants sodemand, they will be provided with 100% FAR after construction of a newbuilding. According to the policy, 15% additional FAR will be allowed for masshousing, hospital, IT building and mega commercial complexes. Adequate civicinfrastructure will be provided in these areas.

In another major point, for houses locatedwithin 500 m on both sides of a Metro corridor, an FAR of 15% will beallowed if the road is 15-24 m wide. The FAR will be 20% if the road is morethan 24 m wide. Already, some amendments have been made in the New Town Kolkata(Building) Rules to increase the maximum permissible FAR for developers inspecific areas of Rajarhat New Town.

If a plot is located within 250 m of theproposed Metro route in the central business district (CBD) of New Town,developers can build a house with an FAR of 6 on payment of fees. Also, forplots located beyond 250 m from the proposed Metro alignment, the FAR for allplots except for residential ones shall remain 3.50 for CBD and 2.25 forsub-CBD areas.

Also, for the benefit of youths who want toset up non-hazardous office in houses, 45% of FAR will be allowed for thispurpose.

Other important features of the policy arerevised valuation for housing complexes that have community halls andplaygrounds and a new depreciation rate for all old buildings. The rate willvary for buildings based on how old they are, from 0 to 5 years old, from 6 to40 years old and for buildings above 40 years. Those who will buy these oldbuildings will have to pay lower stamp duty.