T. Nagar, the city’s major commercial hub known for its congestion, is to be comprehensively redeveloped. Plans will include a new circulation pattern, a database of residential and commercial properties, land use changes and improving accessibility.
The Tamilnadu Urban Infrastructure Financial Services Limited (TNUIFSL), on behalf of the Chennai Corporation, has delineated a six sq.km area bound by Arcot Road in the north, Nandanam in the South, Teynampet in the east and Arya Gowda Road in the West for this project.
Six consultants, shortlisted out of the 40, who had expressed interest, have been asked to provide proposals. They have been directed, apart from other parameters, to explore the possibility of higher FSI and impact fees for the buildings developed in this area.
While the attempt to organise hawking areas, increase parking places and improve mobility and signage in this area are welcomed, the direction to provide higher Floor Space Index (FSI) has raised questions.
“This approach is in contradiction to the second Master Plan. Chennai city, particularly T. Nagar is already dense and the emphasis should be to encourage development at the periphery of the city and not intensify the already congested core. It is for this reason the Master Plan has kept the FSI at its present level and not raised. Second, without a statutory backing, these proposals cannot be implemented,” remarked an official familiar with the city planning process.
The second master plan prepared by the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) stipulates 1.5 as the FSI for non-multi-storeyed buildings and 2.5 for multi-storeyed buildings. However, many commercial buildings in T.Nagar have violated this provision and have far exceeded the limits. The FSI is the ratio between maximum buildable area and the plot area.
Vikram Kapur, Member Secretary of CMDA, which is the city planning agency, explained that the “traffic arrangements, planning for walkways and beautification are within the purview of the local body. If the proposed development proposal by Corporation involves changes in the development regulations, then it has to be discussed with the CMDA and due statutory process has to be followed.”
The intervention in T. Nagar should be primarily aimed at decongesting the area and making it pedestrian-friendly thinks V.Balaji, an architect who closely follows city development. “The infrastructure has to be developed to improve mobility and support residences there. Increasing FSI would only pull the project in the opposite direction. First, the area needed for amenities and infrastructure required must be listed. Costs and charges to be imposed could follow” he added.