Conversion Charges Become One-Time Payment Under Delhi Master Plan 2021
Not long back, the Supreme Court (SC) had stayed amendments to the Delhi Master Plan 2021 wherein the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) had proposed many variations. This included bringing a uniform floor area ratio (FAR) for shop-cum-residential plots and complexes on par with residential plots. Two months on, the SC partly reconsidered its stay order of March 6 but directed that there should be a window period of 15 days during which public responses towards the amendments must be sought and discussed. Not just that, the amendments should be clear to all and it is imperative that the DDA must advertise the action plan through national dailies on three consecutive days.
Later, keeping in mind 814 public objections and suggestions, the DDA has approved the proposed amendments in the Master Plan for Delhi 2021. Traders fraternity, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) have welcomed the move.
On July 1, the DDA notified a new change in the Master Plan 2021, under which the traders will now have to pay the conversion fee only once in a lifetime instead of paying every year. So, the traders who paid their annual charges for a period of 10 years are now exempt from the burden.
Earlier, under a new amendment, liquor shops, pubs, discotheques, club were not allowed to operate in residential areas, neither any floor of any building that falls in a residential area. The decision to approve this and many other suggestion was taken at an Authority meeting chaired by Lt Governor and DDA Chairman, Anil Baijal. Uniform floor area ratio for shop-cum residence plots would be at par with residential plots henceforth while areas that have a dense concentration of residential as well as commercial complexes such as Kamla Nagara, Rajouri Garden, Lajpat Nagar may continue to operate basis terms and conditions.
Besides, efforts are being undertaken to promote parking and the plot owner would now be allowed to amalgamate the plots to a minimum size of 1,000 sq mt for additional parking. This would also be elegible for a 50 per cent rebate in conversion charges. Wherever, this is not possible, public transport would be made more efficient, ensuring last mile connectivity.
Non-polluting, non-hazardous ventures may be allowed with due permission.
Aligning the funds
An escrow account would be dedicated to maintaining the money collected towards development and used to augment infrastructure and undertake similar work to upgrade parking, public toilets, water supply etc.
Run-up to SC’s stay-order
Early this year, the civic bodies of national capital Delhi expedited a sealing drive and shut operations in over 450 shops. This took place after a monitoring committee appointed by the Supreme Court (SC) found these commercial centres to have violated clauses related to usage of space and other offences such as non-payment of conversion charges, encroachments and unauthorised construction. Shops across posh markets, including Vasant Kunj, Defence Colony and Meher Chand Market area had been sealed for violating these norms.
After much discussion, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) had approved the amendments in the Delhi Master Plan 2021 and the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) had welcomed the approval, terming it as a positive step. However, the entire case took a twist as the SC pulled up DDA for not filing an affidavit analysing the environmental impacts and safety issues of the proposed changes. SC said, "this dadagiri has to stop...you can't tell Supreme Court that you will do what you want to do." The bench comprised of Justices Madan Lokur and Deepak Gupta.
The Centre decided to step in and recommend amendments to the Delhi Master Plan 2021 taking into consideration the location of pubs, clubs and restaurants that would be henceforth shifted out of residential areas said Union Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri.
The Centre had also maintained that besides uniform Floor Area Ratio (FAR), water- and sewage-related infrastructural services should be developed. Puri also said that "outdoor unit of air-conditioning shall in no case extrude from the plot line/or to be placed on the rooftop. Exhaust duct shall not open directly towards the public lane or face the other residential plot. Restaurants, clubs, pubs shall not be allowed in the residential premises as part of mixed use.”
The many meetings
The DDA, in a meeting with Delhi’s Lt Governor Anil Baijal on February 2, agreed for a uniform floor area ratio (FAR) in shop-cum-residential plots, complexes operating in commercial streets, residential areas, commercial and local shopping centres. This was one of the demands of traders across Delhi who had been affected in the ongoing sealing drive. The FAR earlier for 100 sqmt was variable, ranging from 180 to 225. Later, it was proposed to be uniform 350 for 100 sqmt.
Additionally, taking into consideration the urgency of such situations, the number of days for which the notification has to be put in public domain was reduced from 45 days to three days.
However, according to the DDA, provisions for parking would be the same and it shall be crucial for an approval or revision by local bodies in the case of local shopping centres or LSCs. Also, the penalty for violating terms and conditions for mixed-use properties is down from 10 times to two times.
The DDA also proposed norms for redevelopment of godowns clusters existing in "non-conforming areas, to be inserted as new paragraph 6.4 in Chapter 6 - Wholesale Trade as a modification to the Master Plan 2021.
While these conditions had been approved by the DDA, a public notification regarding the same had to be issued asking for suggestions from Delhiites. As many as 741 objections/suggestions were received and approximately 210 representatives also made oral submissions before the Board of Enquiry and Hearing back then.
A mobile application and an interactive website would be launched by the Special Task Force (STF) that would oversee law enforcement and the public would be able to register their grievances through the system. The mobile app may take some time to become fully operational.
With inputs from Housing News