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Flashback – July, 2013: In a major boost for redevelopment of over 14,000 cessed buildings in South Mumbai, the state government on Friday announced that a floor space index (FSI) of three will be extended to B and C category buildings (constructed prior to September 30, 1969). The buildings, pre-1969 tenanted properties in the island city, are classified into three categories: A (pre-1940), B (1940-1950) and C (1950-1969).

A Floor Space Index (FSI) of three had been extended to B and C Category Buildings (constructed prior to September 30, 1969). Buildings, pre-1969 tenanted properties in the Mumbai city, were classified into three categories: A (pre-1940), B (1940-1950) and C (1950-1969).

The move was specifically to boost redevelopment of old and dilapidated buildings under Section 33(7) of Development Control Regulations (DCR). There have been an estimated 19,000 A, B and C Category cessed buildings in Mumbai City. Of these, 2,000 were being classified in B and C category.

It was realized by the State Government that the Developers never paid attention to B and C cessed buildings as only A Category Buildings used to get the FSI of three. Many buildings which used to be neglected by Developers for want of incentives could then go in for redevelopment. Developers redeveloping these dilapidated cessed buildings in the Mumbai City were required to obtain prior permission from State Government for availing this additional FSI.

Now, no prior nod from State Government is needed for additional FSI in cessed buildings in Mumbai as the MHADA which oversees the redevelopment of cessed buildings in Mumbai has been delegated the powers to permit the Developers for availing additional FSI while undertaking the redevelopment of dilapidated cessed buildings.

MHADA’s vice president’s permission will now be enough to avail additional FSI. Nearly 5,000 dilapidated cessed buildings in shall get the benefit from the new policy. In the year 2011, the DC Rules 33(7) was modified, increasing FSI for such cessed redevelopment projects from 2.5 to 3. However, there was a condition that in the case of such ongoing projects, the facility of an additional FSI could only be availed if the construction of the rehabilitation building had not progressed beyond the plinth stage.

In the year 2013, the Bombay High Court declared this condition as invalid and illogical while hearing a related case. The Court ruled that an additional FSI could be availed in the ongoing incomplete redevelopment projects where Full Occupation Certificate has not been granted on submission of structural stability certificate by a certified licensed engineer.  

Following this, the State Government on October 7, 2013, applied the additional FSI to all ongoing projects where Occupation Certificates had not been issued, while keeping the conversion from FSI of 2.5 to 3 optional.

The State Government had made it mandatory for Developers to seek prior government approval before availing the facility of an additional FSI, reasoning that the structural stability of incomplete buildings was crucial for the safety of residents.

However, the present State Government has now delegated these powers to MHADA permitting the ongoing redevelopment projects of old cessed buildings in Mumbai to avail additional FSI. The FSI is a tool that defines the extent of construction permissible on a plot. It is the ratio of built-up area to the total area of the plot.

As aforesaid, this move is likely to benefit about 5,000 cessed redevelopment projects that were originally sanctioned an FSI of 2.5. As per the fresh directive, all such projects can now avail an FSI of 3 regardless of their stage of construction.

The State Government also granted permission to modify norms for hiking FSI for redevelopment of 5,000 odd old buildings in MHADA Colonies in Mumbai from 2.5 to 3. However, the latest directive issued by the State Government does not impose the condition for submission of a Structural Stability Certificate. Interestingly, the State Housing Department had insisted that the structural stability be insisted upon.

The State Government held detailed discussions with Urban Development and Housing Department Officials that the Rental Housing Model would be replaced by a Model for Construction of Affordable Houses. While an FSI of 4 is allotted to Developers for Rental Housing Scheme, the Government has plans to lower it to 3 and that it might give up on the idea of allowing such schemes in areas outside Municipal Corporation Limits in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.

The long pending proposal has also been taken up for approval to modify another Affordable Housing Scheme where Owners or Developers having a plot larger than 2,000 sq. meters can approach MHADA and get an FSI of 2.5. The modifications have been proposed to make the scheme more viable for private players.