The change of guard in the State has prompted Kozhikode-based property developers to seek reforms to prop up the construction sector.
Many builders believe that the modified clauses in the Kerala Municipal Building Rules are irrational and have a negative impact on the real-estate sector. The changes in the floor area ratio (FAR) have been a setback, says Nityanand Kamath, chairman, Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India (CREDAI), Kozhikode chapter.
The FAR limitations have made builders scout for more land for projects, leading to a spurt in the prices of apartments. These limitations force the builder to restrict the number of flats in a complex. (FAR is the ratio of the floor area of a building to the land area. Suppose if the floor area of a house is 1,500 sq.ft and the land area is 2,500 sq.ft, then FAR is 0.6).
Currently, FAR for residential apartments is 1.5. However, the builders can increase it up to 2.75 by paying a fee. The rate is Rs.300 per square metre for up to 2.5. Earlier, the limit was 4.
Mr. Kamath says the government needs to reconsider the FAR limitations in the wake of scarcity of land not only in cities and towns but also in the suburbs. “It should explore the possibility of giving permission to more high-rise buildings with the coming of different mega projects. Today, villas are a luxury and only a few can afford them,” he says.
The coverage of high-rise apartments too has been restricted. Only 60 per cent of the land should be used for buildings with six to 50 units. The usage of land for construction has been limited in proportion to the increase in number of dwelling units. Thus, only 55 per cent of the land can be used for a building having 51 to 100 units; 50 per cent for 101 to 200; and 45 per cent for 200 units and above.
Curbs have been imposed for constructing multi-storey buildings close to roads. The access width for a high-rise building to roads is seven metres for 25 flats; nine metres for 50 flats; 12 metres for 75 flats; and 15 metres for 100 units.
The policies should be revised to pave the way for the development of the realty sector. Growth for 15-20 years should be factored in. The master plan schemes should be prepared by balancing growth and environmental needs.
Development initiatives need not be confined to the building sector. The government should give top priority to supporting infrastructure and integrating the development of road network and transportation, Mr. Kamath says.
Skewed policies have led to congestion in many cities, particularly Kochi. This should not happen in Kozhikode. The outer ring road stretching from Ramanattukara to Malaparamba has to an extent reduced traffic snarls in the city. Unfortunately, the main stadium is in the heart of the city. A new stadium can come up on the outskirts. The government or the civic body can convert the existing stadium into a parking area and park. The city is yet to construct a convention centre, he says.