Opposes increase in FAR proposed by Local Self Government Dept.

Fearing that increasing the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) — the permissible level of vertical construction on a plot — in Kochi may choke the city, the Town Planning Committee of the Kochi Corporation has asked the State government to withdraw the decision.

The Local Self Government Department had proposed to revise the FAR to 4 in city areas against the maximum of 2 allotted in city areas such as M.G. road. The last date for filing objections against the proposal was on Thursday.

Though the proposal was placed for discussion in the Corporation Council meeting on Wednesday, members demanded detailed discussion as the proposal, if implemented, would have far-reaching impacts on city life.

In its representation, the Town Planning Standing Committee pointed out that the city had drawn up a structural plan after conducting detailed carrying capacity analysis. The FAR in force was introduced after considering the structural plan and the carrying capacity studies. If the ratio was increased, it would lead to massive structures coming up in the city leading to increased and uncontrolled pressure on roads and other infrastructure including power, water and sewerage system, it said.

The city could not afford to increase the FAR as it was already struggling to meet infrastructure demands, said K.J. Sohan, chairman, Town Planning Standing Committee of the corporation.

Moreover, no authority can throw out the structural plan, which was introduced after detailed deliberations, through an executive order. It was also an attempt to usurp the rights of the civic body, Mr. Sohan said.

Meanwhile, three LDF councillors have also written independently to the secretary of the Local Self Government Department to drop the move. Any such decision, which could have wider ramifications on city life, should be taken only after discussing in the local body concerned, said the letter.

The city is in the process of fine-tuning its development master plan. A structural plan is also in place. The master plan and the structural plans are the road maps to the development of the city. The unilateral decision to revise the FAR would sabotage the plan process and upset the life of people, said LDF councillors K.N. Sunilkumar, M. Anilkumar and C.A. Shakeer in the letter.

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