City Issues: How will the Metro affect Pune

In an older post, we had highlighted the impact of the Metro on our Prabhaag, but when the project moved one step further with approval from the Central Government’s Urban Development Ministry in February, there was discussion about the impact the Metro will have on our city.

Anagha Paranjape Purohit has has brought out the issue of the 4FSI that the PMC insists is needed for the Metro in a piece in the DNA . She has used an example from our Prabhaag, making this even more in-our-face:

4 FSI an its impact on real estate
Higher FSI (4.0 proposed) in the Metro Influence Zone (500 m on both sides of the Proposed Metro Line) will mean that huge housing and commercial office space will be generated. Will this ensure dropping of real estate prices? Most probably not. So, since to avail the extra FSI any developer needs to pay 1.5 times the actual rate, creation of this ‘undemanded’ housing stock will make real estate development with 4.0 FSI economically unfeasible. So the additional 3.0 FSI over the actual 1.0 FSI will remain notional. And finally, if it remains notional, the objective of increasing the population density in the city centres will not be achieved. Once again, I come back to my original question…Who will really ride the Metro to make it a feasible option? 
Further to my argument in the point above, if most people who will ride the Metro are from outside to inside the city, why should existing areas of the city disrupted with the 4.0 FSI densification?
Negotiation threat from developer
Thirdly, there is a cess that will be levied on properties within the Metro Influence Zone that will fail to redevelop and use the 4.0 FSI. This cess will be levied annually at the rate of 5 per cent of the property value.
Consider a situation of a bungalow owner in Kothrud or Prabhat Road. This person will be dependent on a developer to negotiate an amalgamation so that the overall land will be more than 21,000 sq ft (0.2 hectares). 

This is a pre-requisite for availing the much-hyped 4.0 FSI. So, while the cess is an incentive for redevelopment, it can become a negotiation threat that a developer can possibly use against property owners. Is there a mechanism that is being established for arbitration of such disputes? If not, once again, many of these properties will come under litigation, thereby not facilitating the use of 4.0 FSI and I returning to my original question….Who will really ride the Metro?
Cess burden on property owners
Fourth point is that many properties in the Metro Influence Zone are unlikely to use the expensive paid component of 3.0 FSI, due to failing to have the right road widths to avail of maximum height for the new building. Is it justified that these property owners will be levied the cess for failing to redevelop to 4.0 FSI?
City life to be disrupted
Lastly, in Pune we are all a part of a growing city. The arms of the city are extending in five major directions, four of which will come under the Metro Line. 
The Metro lines will connect Kharadi to Vanaz and Katraj to Hinjewadi. So, while the Metro lines will be of benefit to the people on the fringe, the properties and lives of people in the city centre is threatened to get disrupted. Pune, still being a relatively compact city, distances within the city centre are short and less people in these areas will tend to ride the Metro. However, the Metro Influence Zone threatens to disrupt these people, while the true beneficiaries of the Metro Line will remain relatively unaffected.

 

Janwani has studied the Metro Plan and has proposed it go underground in densely populated areas, e.g. Deccan and Karve Road.

The report can be read in full here.

In the section on FSI, it has made two points, essentially in line with Anagha’s views, and proposed an alternative:

During the discussions with the OSD, Janwani highlighted the following issues with the
current proposal of 4 FSI in 500 m stretch along Metro Corridors as mentioned in the Draft
Development Plan (2007-2027) published in the Draft DP & DCRs for the Old Pune City
(2007-27) by PMC.

1. Metro Influence Zone as per Draft DP Report is 32.95 Sq km considering 500 m
on both sides of metro corridors. Residential Use has been proposed to be 30%
as per proposed land use (PLU) in the draft DP. Thirty percent of Metro Influence
Zone would mean 10 sq km. FSI of 4 will result into Built up area of 40 sq km, or
400 Lakh sq m. This would generate 8,00,000 houses accommodating about 40
lakh population considering size of 50 sq m/ tenement. The housing requirement
according to the Housing Study carried out for the draft DP is 6,50,000 houses i.e.
32.50 lakh population for the entire city. This shows us that the tenements
generated from this sale of FSI are much higher than the required Built-up Area to
finance the Metro.
2. Another approach to raising finance through FSI is as follows:
PMC needs to raise 50% of the total of cost (10,183 Cr as per figures published
given by PMC) through other funding options such as sale of FSI. Considering that
Rs 5000 Cr need to be raised for both corridors, let us assume that Rs 2500 Cr
need to be raised for Corridor II (Vanaz- Ramwadi). At Rs 50,000 (1.5 times the
Ready Reckoner rate on Karve Rd as suggested in the draft DP), only 5,00,000 sq
m of BUA will have to be sold. This FSI can be auctioned over time, as per the
yearly outlay of the project deployed judiciously at designated locations such as
metro stations and predetermined locations considering the carrying capacity in
terms of civic infrastructure and civic amenities. This approach is sensitive
towards the current fabric and aesthetical concerns about the city.

Such alternate options should be considered by the PMC, when it comes to the actual implementation of the Metro, a project that will change our city, for the better, not for the worse.