Premium FAR may lead to higher density development in areas not serviced by mass transport: Experts

Premium Floor Area Ratio up to 60%, depending on the width of the road, means the State government has given Transit Oriented Development along Namma Metro corridors a pass

February 21, 2024 08:03 pm | Updated February 22, 2024 12:06 pm IST - Bengaluru

The provision to allow Premium Floor Area Ratio (FAR) up to 60% may lead to higher density of development in areas not serviced by Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS), stretching infrastructure, and adding to traffic congestion.

The provision to allow Premium Floor Area Ratio (FAR) up to 60% may lead to higher density of development in areas not serviced by Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS), stretching infrastructure, and adding to traffic congestion. | Photo Credit: PTI

The provision to allow Premium Floor Area Ratio (FAR) up to 60% depending on the width of the road across the city essentially means that the State government has given the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) along Namma Metro corridors a pass. This may lead to higher density of development in areas not serviced by Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS), stretching infrastructure, and may add to traffic congestion, experts and civic activists fear. 

Significantly, the Draft Revised Master Plan-2031 was scrapped to integrate TOD linking MRTS and land use into the master plan as per Comprehensive Mobility Plan (CMP) introduced by the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL), which gave FAR up to 5% in the immediate Impact zone of Namma Metro. However, the State government, by bringing The Karnataka Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Bill, 2024, has now gone back to square one. 

“The city has chosen to go the TOD way with a view to densify corridors along Namma Metro, and may be later along suburban rail, to increase the share of public transport. Now that the State has gone back to the traditional mode of providing FAR based on road width across the city, it can potentially lead to high density development away from MRTS, which essentially means adding to congestion,” said a senior urban planner, who did not wish to be named. 

Another urban planner said that FAR should always be a tool of planning, but it was clear from the State government’s move that Premium FAR was being used as a fiscal tool, which is not a good sign. The State Budget presented on February 16 said: “Additional non-tax resources of ₹2,000 crore will be mobilised through revised advertisement policy and premium FAR Policy’‘ in Bengaluru. 

Takers for Premium FAR?

However, there are others who feel that given the lax regulation in the city, Premium FAR may have the same fate as that of Transferrable Development Rights (TDR), which failed to take off. “Builders are violating building bylaws without any fear of consequences. The same government promises to remove oversight over plan approvals and allow self-declaration and also push for Akrama Sakrama. In such a scenario, only genuine big builders may buy premium FAR and others will violate with impunity. Premium FAR or TDR will only work when the regulatory mechanism and its enforcement is strict in the city,” said civic activist N.S. Mukunda of Bengaluru Praja Vedike. 

The industry welcomed Premium FAR, but with caveats. “Premium FAR will be of good use and the government will also make money out of it. But at the same time, the government should also frame rules for TDR, so that we can use the TDR we have now. Otherwise, that will become a dead investment. Premium FAR alone will not work,” said Suresh Hari, secretary, CREDAI-Karnataka. 

CAF to legally challenge 

Vijayan Menon of Citizen Action Forum (CAF), that has earlier fought the zoning regulations case, said that as far as Bengaluru was concerned, Premium FAR cannot be brought in through this mode, but only through a Master Plan, for which civic elections need to be held and Bengaluru Metropolitan Planning Committee has to be constituted. “So the process through which this is being attempted is wrong and CAF will challenge it,” he said. 

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.