team suggests real estate overhaul for city makeover
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
New Delhi: Uniformity in urban administrative systems, rationalisation
of property taxes, phasing out octroi and scrapping laws that prohibit
construction in coastal areas as well as No-Development Zone have
been identified as prerequisites by the World Bank (WB) for Mumbaiís
makeover into a world class city.
The WB team returned to New Delhi on Tuesday after a week-long stay
in Mumbai and have submitted a detailed list of dos and more dos to
the Centre if
Mumbai has to achieve the status of a global megapolis. The seven-member
team, led by Korean urban development specialist Songsu Choi, was
invited by the Union government to chalk out a business plan for Mumbaiís
The WB mission has recommended policy initiatives by the Maharashtra
government to effectively reorganise urban services like BEST, water
supply and sanitation into autonomous entities. ďDecision-making by
government agencies is extremely fragmented. Procedural and organisational
changes need to be carried out while also exploring options to strengthen
the authority and accountability of local-self-government bodies especially
the BMC, the WB said in its report.
More significantly, the mission has suggested that Mumbaiís railway
network be separated from the Indian Railways as a standalone entity.
The suburban rail network which ferries over 50 lakh commuters daily
criss-crossing from Panvel, Vasai and Kasara is the lifeline of the
public transport system and needs to be strengthened by an additional
metro rail system, the WB team said in its report submitted to the
Union government on Tuesday.
Additionally, the bank has argued for allowing private bus operators
not only in Mumbai but also neighbouring Thane and Navi Mumbai districts.
On the impact that it would have on the BEST services, which is the
monopoly public bus service provider, the team believes that only
25% of its revenue would be drawn away by the private operators.
Emphasising on the urgency to release the large tracts of land held
by private mill owners, agencies such as Mumbai Port Trust, salt pan
lands along with the abolition of the Urban Land Ceiling Act Regulation
(ULCRA), the WB has said all these will go a long way in providing
affordable rental as well as housing stock. This, the bank experts
feel, will be crucial as Mumbai will witness an addition of 38 lakh
migrants between 2001 and 2021.
Considering the rapid population increase in Mumbai and limited housing
potential under the existing regulations, the WB has sought to lift
the cap on the Floor Space Index (FSI). It has strongly recommended
a distinct FSI regime for commercial reality as against residential
constructions. The bank has sought an FSI of 2 for residential buildings,
currently 1.33, especially those within a radius of 1 km from railway