Unified DCPR: A win-win initiative for Maharashtra real estate

[] We look at how Maharashtra’s Unified Development Control and Promotion Regulations, is likely to affect the real estate market and infrastructure development in Mumbai and other major cities in the state

The Unified Development Control and Promotion Regulations (DCPR or DCR) for Maharashtra state, which came into effect in December 2020 and have injected much-needed positivity in the state’s real-estate sector, will also ensure systematic and sustainable urban development in the years to come. The 397-page document of the new rules, comprehensively covers all aspects of infrastructure and real-estate development in the notified urban areas, bringing much-needed uniformity, consistency and transparency to a sector that has historically been marred by ambiguous norms and opaque processes.

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The new DCR brings in sweeping reforms for development of specific spaces in urban areas that were largely unaddressed till now and were prone to illegal encroachments – be it allowing cycling tracks and recreation spaces in green belt and coastal zones, or allowing development of public spaces on reserved land. The biggest impact of the rules will be witnessed in the private developments by the state’s real-estate sector. Leading the charge in this new wave of development will be the Mumbai Metropolitan Region’s (MMR’s) cities of Thane, Navi Mumbai and Kalyan-Dombivali, besides Pune and Kolhapur.

Maharashtra Unified Development Control and Promotion Regulations

Ancillary FSI: A game-changer

The redeeming feature of the Unified DCR is the notable relaxation in floor space index (FSI) eligibility and the provision for loading a significant amount of additional FSI for a project. To enable this, the concept of ancillary FSI, modeled along the lines of fungible FSI in the BMC, has now been introduced in eligible cities across the state. For example, a plot with a basic FSI of 1.10 can get an additional 0.40 FSI by paying a premium and can avail of further ancillary FSI up to 0.60 for residential projects and up to 0.80 for commercial projects. This effectively increases the overall FSI eligibility by 2.5 times, virtually transforming the development potential in many parts of cities like Thane, Navi Mumbai and Pune, which was practically impossible with the earlier base FSI of 1.

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The enhanced FSI rules will not only give a major boost to new developments on smaller plots with limited base FSI but also be a boon for hundreds of thousands of old buildings and societies that are ripe for redevelopment. While the local civic bodies and the state government stand to gain incremental revenue by sharing the FSI premium on a 50:50 basis, lakhs of residents living in dated and dangerous buildings will now be able to feasibly redevelop their premises, either independently or by roping in a reputed developer with the necessary expertise and experience to execute such projects.

Focused regulations

The new DCR has not only addressed practically every single aspect of urban development in the notified areas but also shown a thorough understanding of micro-factors and introduced specific norms and reforms for earmarked cities. For example, the upcoming metro network in Thane will have a huge footprint on the city’s intra and inter-city commuting. Planning for the infrastructure to support the metro network, the new DCR gives special incentive FSI for building underground and above-ground public parking lots for a minimum of 50 vehicles and provides for further infrastructure creation in the vicinity of metro stations. Special provisions have been made, to enable redevelopment in the city’s prime, yet, congested areas abutting Ram Maruti Road and Gokhale Road.

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Similarly, for Navi Mumbai, the new norms have taken cognisance of the need for enabling redevelopment of old CIDCO, as well as private cooperative housing society buildings, giving a green signal for all buildings more than 30 years old, irrespective of their current condition. This comes as a big relief for the city, given the history of years of uncertainty over verification of the dangerous condition of buildings. Another Navi Mumbai-specific rule, is to consider the road width of 11 metres in the municipal area of the planned city, at par with road width of 12 metres, for all purposes, including permissible uses mentioned in this Unified DCPR. This was another anomaly due to which many buildings on internal nine-metre roads narrowly missed qualifying for higher FSI. Special provision for amalgamation of societies and plots will further encourage urban renewal and development in the satellite city.

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Norms for homes

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In a move that will bring in consistency across the board, the Unified DCR spells out the specifics for every component of the home. From providing ledges for air-conditioning units, space for cupboards and FSI-free parking space in basements, to requirement of proper lighting, ventilation and safety features in each individual unit and project, the DCR gives certain concessions to the developer, which, in turn, will eventually benefit the home owner by way of better homes at good prices. The greater idea here is that the government has taken a lead by giving a policy push and concessions to boost the realty sector and it is now up to the developers to raise the bar in developing quality homes and projects.

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Since the launch of the Unified DCR, all the stakeholders – planners, developers and architects – are already trying to maximise the potential of the new rules. In the next two years, we will see the vision of this landmark legislation being fulfilled, for a better and brighter Mumbai Metropolitan Region and Maharashtra.

(The writer is director, National Builders)

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Category: Lifestyle

Debora Berti

Università degli Studi di Firenze, IT

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