In a move to provide relief to those hit by the sealing drive in Delhi, DDA looks set to increase the floor area ratio (FAR) of commercial establishments, thus increasing their ground coverage and number of floors.
The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) is likely to provide relief to “local shopping centres (LSCs)”, which were earlier known as shop-cum-residential areas, by increasing the FAR from 180 to 300. This means they will get more ground coverage and floors — from the earlier three storeys to four.
The Centre is also reportedly considering invocation of “larger public interest” to reduce conversion charges to help traders at risk of sealing. The SC-appointed monitoring committee had started the sealing drive in LSCs for misuse and non-payment of conversion charges, on fresh pressure from the court.
DDA technical committee took up the issue of increasing FAR on Tuesday and it was cleared by the panel. This step has the backing of the housing and urban affairs ministry since DDA is under the administrative control of the ministry, but the increase in FAR will be subject to conditions of providing parking facilities and sanction of building plans from municipal corporations.
In areas such as Lajpat Nagar, Defence Colony, Greater Kailash, Hauz Khas and several other localities, the FAR of 180 allows a three-storey building. Once the FAR is increased to 300, these properties can legally have four storeys.
The DDA technical committee meeting was held after Delhi LG Anil Baijal recently directed the authority to look for a possible solution. The panel has representatives from municipal corporations and Delhi government.
Since the sealing drive started, shop owners have been demanding that the government address the anomalies in the Delhi Master Plan. The FAR for commercial establishments in LSCs is less than that for shops on commercial streets and the conversion fee to change the usage from residential to commercial is far higher for LSCs in comparison to commercial streets.
Secondly, LSCs notified in the Master Plan, are allowed FAR of 180 whereas it’s 300 on streets that were notified as commercial in 2006.
Meanwhile, housing and urban affairs minister Hardeep Singh Puri held a meeting with Baijal, officials from his ministry, DDA and the municipal corporations to find a concrete solution to the ongoing crisis. Two options that the Centre is looking at are whether it can reduce the public notice period for change of land use from 30 days and whether the conversion charges can be reduced.