In its draft housing policy, the Maharashtra government has proposed that all satellite towns within the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) limits should be earmarked as smart city aspirants.
According to the final text of Maharashtra State New Housing Policy & Action Plan 2015, municipal corporations of Thane, Mira-Bhayander, Kalyan-Dombivli and Vasai-Virar fit the eligibility criteria of existing city with a population between 1-4 million. This will exclude the areas falling under Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), which will take its own smart city initiatives simultaneously.
The state government is planning to propose the development of smart city centres in all satellite cities of MMR. For any project to be classified as smart city centre in these satellite towns, it should be located within the developable zone of the respective municipal corporations and its existing development plan and should also be not more than 1-2 kilometres from the transportation hubs such as railway stations.
“Any project involving 100 acres of land and located in close proximity to a transportation hub would qualify for incentives under the smart city centre scheme,” the policy document states.
A developer having 100 acres of developable residential or commercial zone within MMR limits would be entitled to form a joint venture with MHADA for the development of the land.
In the joint venture, MHADA will be the facilitator and special planning authority (SPA) and will provide clearance to the project under single window clearance scheme. “After its approval, necessary intimation will be sent to the regional planning authority or the municipal corporation as the case maybe,” the policy document states.
For such a project the developer will be entitled an FSI of 4 on gross plot area including roads and reservations. The FSI of 4 shall be divided into two portions — 75% of the built-up area shall be permitted for construction of housing or commercial etc by the developer. The remaining 25% of the built-up area shall be used for construction of affordable housing. The policy clearly demarcates that the area for affordable housing will be constructed in separate buildings either at one location within the layout or at separate locations.
Half of the affordable stock this created shall be handed over to MHADA free of cost to enable it to further sell this by way of open lottery/transparent allotment, while the other half will be available to the developer for sale.
To ensure that affordable housing units are constructed and also to mitigate risk of the developer, later one merging the units to create larger units, the division of this 25% between MHADA and the developer will be on a floor wise basis. “For example if the first floor of a building is hander over to MHADA, the second floor will belong to the developer, and so on and so forth”. Also, the developer will pay premium of 60% of the Ready Reckoner rate for extra FSI beyond the zonal FSI to MMRDA for infrastructure creation. The developer will implement the norms of the government of India for smart cities in the project.
However, experts say the proposed smart cities proposal in the policy lacks features of a model smart city, and instead looks more like a real estate development. Neeraj Sharma, partner, Walker Chandiok & Co said, “Affordable housing and integrated development is fine, but other features of smart cities like smart transportation, IT infrastructure, waste management etc do not seem to have been spelt out clearly. These features are key to getting a smart city status, and have to be inter-linked with real estate development in terms of affordable housing, commercial structures, industries etc, the two cannot happen independent of each other”.