Re­lax­ation of floor norms in Delhi: Good, bad or ugly?

Re­lax­ing norms for con­struc­tion of ad­di­tional floors in res­i­den­tial flats will not help un­less other chal­lenges are ad­dressed

HT Estates - - NEWS - San­thosh Ku­mar

The gov­ern­ment has re­laxed norms for con­struc­tion of ad­di­tional floors in res­i­den­tial flats hav­ing mul­ti­ple own­er­ships, aim­ing to weed out corruption and help peo­ple get their build­ing plans sanc­tioned with­out has­sles. As per a new di­rec­tive, peo­ple hav­ing right over the third floor will no longer re­quire to ob­tain a no-ob­jec­tion cer­tifi­cate (NOC) from the other floor owners for the con­struc­tion of a third floor.

Mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tions will have to ex­am­ine struc­tural safety and com­pli­ance of build­ing bye-laws while giv­ing ap­proval for con­struc­tion of the third floor. They will need to look into as­pects such as struc­tural safety, fire safety, non-ob­struc­tion of pas­sages and air and sun­shine for neigh­bours and neigh­bour­ing build­ings be­fore ap­prov­ing any build­ing plans. Also, ad­e­quate park­ing norms will need to be fol­lowed to get clear­ance. As a mat­ter of fact, there are quite a few com­pli­ca­tions that need to be re­solved to be able to ef­fec­tively im­ple­ment the order.

As of now, the three owners of ground, first and sec­ond floors share one-third land rights. If an ad­di­tional floor is to be con­structed, then the other floor-owners have to for­feit their land right - which will go down from 33% to 25%. More­over, if it is pos­si­ble to build within the 300 FAR in any house up from 200, the other floor-owners will claim 33% right on the ex­tra 100, while the sec­ond floor owners would claim it as theirs. In other words, there will cer­tainly be le­gal is­sues that need to be ad­dressed.

It also seems ev­i­dent that there will be a need to in­crease ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture due to this move, since it will have to cater to in­creased pop­u­la­tion. Wa­ter, elec­tric­ity and all other nec­es­sary sup­ply sys­tems would have to be mas­sively ramped up in order to cater to in­creased de­mand.

In short - this di­rec­tive, if not com­ple­mented along with other nec­es­sary changes in the ex­ist­ing laws, and if not im­ple­mented with the right in­tent and spirit, will do no sig­nif­i­cant good in re­al­ity.

On the pos­i­tive side, this move will not es­sen­tially re­sult in any ma­jor in­flux of new pop­u­la­tion to put the ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ties un­der stress. Rather, it would pri­mar­ily mean cre­ation of more hous­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for the pop­u­la­tion cur­rently re­sid­ing there. This means that no sig­nif­i­cant ad­di­tional changes will need to be made to ex­ist­ing colonies.

Cur­rently in Delhi, prop­erty prices are ex­or­bi­tantly high and thus are out of reach of mid­dle-class end con­sumer. This move will help to put a check on the al­ready sky-high prices. As hous­ing op­tions will, to a cer­tain ex­tent, be­come more af­ford­able, the work­ing class pop­u­la­tion will be able to ad­dress their dream of own­ing a home in Delhi more re­al­is­ti­cally.

With the acute scarcity of land in Delhi, there is very limited scope of hor­i­zon­tal ex­pan­sion - and thus, ver­ti­cal growth re­mains a vi­able op­tion. The move to al­low build­ing of an ad­di­tional floor will in­crease us­able FAR re­sult­ing in more ef­fi­cient util­i­sa­tion of land.

Also, since we have al­ready seen many such con­struc­tions tak­ing place even in the ab­sence of a cor­re­spond­ing doc­u­mented pol­icy, for­mal guide­lines will give le­git­i­macy to all such con­struc­tions, make the process smoother and help do away with in­volved cor­rupt prac­tices.

As far as the right way to go about this is con­cerned, I will ad­vo­cate the im­ple­men­ta­tion of this move with all nec­es­sary changes in bye-laws. Merely abol­ish­ing NOCs as an ap­pease­ment strat­egy is not rec­om­mended. To be able to im­ple­ment this ac­tion with a view to the de­sired re­sults, all in­volved com­pli­ca­tions and chal­lenges also need to be proac­tively ad­dressed.

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