Oct 17, 2008

India - TN;New concept to reduce land acquisition costs

CHENNAI: In order to reduce the amount spent on land acquisitions for infrastructure projects and facilitate early agreement between the government authorities and property owners, the CMDA has proposed the concept of transfer of development rights (TDR) in the master plan.

At an expert committee meeting, the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority on Tuesday discussed the modalities of implementing it. Along with this, the fee needed to be paid for availing oneself of the premium FSI was discussed. Property owners affected by land acquisition will receive a TDR certificate, instead of cash compensation. This certificate will allow them to build more than what is normally permissible. For example, if a plot owner loses a property which has 1.5 floor space index (FSI), he/she can get 2.25 FSI as compensation and use it elsewhere in the city. This certificate could also be sold to developers who may want to utilise it in their projects. Institutions such as the Chennai Metro rail are agreeable to the proposal, as it would reduce their land acquisition costs significantly.

According to an official source, the CMDA has proposed that the guideline value of the land should be taken as the basis for calculating the charges for availing premium FSI.

However, some committee members opposing this suggested that the market value of land be taken, so that the government does not lose revenue necessary to provide infrastructure this additional built-up area will call for. The premium FSI is the additional built-up area a property owner can build over and above what is permitted. Sundaram, chairman, Builders Association of India, Southern Centre, said the premium FSI would be more useful only in the suburbs where there are large properties.

Tara Murali, an expert committee member, said the premium FSI was not recommended by the expert committee of the CMDA, but introduced by the government.

“If it has to be implemented, it must be linked to generating affordable housing.”

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