Jun 25, 2010
This fastest growing II tier city in the state has all the requisite credentials to develop further into a mega city. The indicators like proposed infrastructure development allocations by the state, city development plan etc., point towards this possibility. Geographical advantages, skilled manpower, abundant natural resources, excellent connectivity, a maritime all-weather port, are some of the strengths that have brought the Mangalore Special Economic Zone in to the scene here with proposed investments of over Rs.50,000 crore. The population of the city, according to a census survey, is likely to cross 20 lac by 2020. Some of the measures undertaken up by the City Corporation to keep pace with the times include the ADB-sponsored new 20 MGD pipe line, which has addressed the water problems of the city, and the concreting of roads which has been appreciated by various quarters.
Preparing a blue print, keeping all further progress and population expansion in mind, is and should be the foremost task in the agenda of UDA (Urban Development Authority). City beautification including reserving areas for housing, commercial, horticultural and agricultural enterprises has to be shouldered in a scientific manner by the Urban Development Authority to avoid imbalances of any kind.
Accordingly the Urban Development Authority, under the state government, in it's master plan (2), has made some ammendments before releasing it in June. A similar exercise done on October 1, 2009, had evoked good response from the concerned authorities and elected representatives, who had chipped in with valuable suggestions on town planning systems. The ammendments to this particular master plan needs detailed discussions and suggestions. Former mayor of Mangalore City Corporation , K Divakar's assessment of the recent gazette notification is as follows:
First the positives:
1. Initially, penalty levied for regularization of irregular housing plots was a whopping 15%. This has now been waived off up to a three-cent plot. The slab structure now is 7½% for three to eight cents and 10¾% for six to 12 cents land. The poor stand to be benefit immensely from these changes.
2. The ammendments on Floor Area Ratio (FAR), increasing the construction opportunity by three times the square area of the site, and the possibility of purchasing the same from the government or private bodies subject to certain restrictions is a ‘first time’ provision, which is commendable.
3. The Master Plan has specified minimum width for all the city roads.
4. Toilet facilities have been made compulsory for all commercial buildings.
5. Opportunity for constructing toilets and floor steps in the set back areas.
6. Construction limit for neighbouring shops raised from 20 to 100 sq mts.
7. The irregular division or partition penalty fee occurring in case of inherited property distribution is being waived off.
8. Emphasis has been laid on rainwater harvesting.
9. Encouraging solar energy consumption.
10. The physically challenged have been given more facilities.
11. Allotting 10% for ‘Open space’ in case of commercial blue prints. This will help ‘greenery’ flourish and in turn, have a positive impact on the health of citizenry.
Now the negatives:
1. In the case of road-widening at present in the city, the facility of TDR is being provided to those who lose or give land for the purpose. The same however, has not been regularized in the present Master Plan.
2. Though the present Master Plan specifies minimum road needs and allocations in front of residential plots, it is feasible to let the TDR rights rest with the plot owner.
3. Hitherto, keeping in mind the residential plot expansion plans, a 10% set back was imposed, excluding the front portion of the concerned road. In the present Master Plan, this has been co-related to the height of the building proposed. This starts from 1.5 metres sideways and back of the building and in accordance with the width of the road, a minimum of two metres is also accounted as set-back.
The difficulties imposed by the amendments stated above can be best demonstrated through an example at the proposed Paduva Layout, where MUDA has come out with site marketting plans.
In this plan, there are 9 mts x 12 mts (30x40) plots which are about 31 in number. According to the new set back rules, a ground floor of only 548.76 sq ft can be built. 19 plots measuring 6x9 (20x30) sq ft for the low income group have been chalked out. Out of this, according to the notified gazette, a ground floor measuring only 177.54 sq ft can be constructed. In sites measuring 12x18 (40x60) alone, houses of 1404 sq ft can be constructed. However, according to Table 13, an area measuring 140 sq ft will have to be reserved for parking.
If this is the case with the MUDA-approved layouts, then the possibility of building houses in private layouts and in small plots acquired through legacy or otherwise, appears almost impossible, what with the present set back rules and allowing land for road width.
It is illogical to impose set back according to Table 13 depending on the height of the building. This has been experimented in the city in the past too. Here, the height of the building has been considered as six metres from the ground level. Normally in the city, the ground floor is constructed at a height of three metres and the first floor also at a height of three metres. They together constitute six metres in construction parlance. However, the foundation itself covers at least ½ metre above the ground level. This will not be considered in the present set back notification. Taking this into account, the residents having ‘minimum set back’ will be unable to construct the first floor.
The above ‘set back rules’ are prima facie impractical, and are likely to impose hurdles for future constructions. Objections if any, along the same lines with additions, can be sent to the secretary, Urban Development Authority, Vikas Saudha, Bangalore-560001, within a specified period. This would be a concrete step in making our city more ‘residential-worthy’ for the future.