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Floor space linked with road width

The Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) will cut floor space from plot-owners whose buildings stand on roads that have been encroached upon.

At a meeting in the office of BJP deputy mayor Meenadevi Purohit on Tuesday, it was decided that the CMC will, from now on, sanction floor-area ratio (FAR) to a plot-owner in accordance with the road width abutting the plot measured during physical inspection.

The meeting was attended by mayoral council member (building) Swapan Samaddar and director-general (building) Ashok Roychaudhury. Deputy municipal commissioner (estate) Javed Iqbal was also present.

If the road abutting a plot becomes narrower than shown in the official document due to encroachment, the house-owner will be allowed less FAR.

“It is the moral responsibility of house-owners and plot-owners to prevent encroachment of roads in front of their buildings. If they fail to do so, they will have to suffer,” said Samaddar.

Presently, in the case of new constructions or reconstructions of old buildings, the size of the edifice and the total covered area, or FAR allowable under the civic rules, depend on the width of the road abutting the plot.

The wider the road, the higher the building — that is the norm in according sanction to a construction proposal.

Road width is determined by consulting Smart’s map for the city proper and the mouza map of the land records department in the added areas of Behala, Garden Reach and Jadavpur.

“Since mouza maps are not as accurate as Smart’s map, drawn during the Raj, physical verification has often revealed that the actual width of the CMC or PWD road abutting a plot was more than shown in the mouza map,” explained Purohit. So, a plot-owner will be unduly deprived if not allowed FAR in accordance with the actual road width.

Similarly, a number of cases could be cited in the city proper in which the actual width of the road was found to be less than shown in Smart’s map.

This has been caused by encroachment, the deputy mayor pointed out. “The proposal will be placed for ratification in the mayoral council meeting soon,” she added.

Criticising the move, CPM chief whip Amal Mitra said the CMC had no moral or legal right to pass the buck of its own failure to citizens. According to the CMC Act of 1980, the civic body could not allow encroachment of city roads and pavements.

“If the CMC had allowed its roads to be encroached on and did not take action to remove the illegal squatters, why should it deprive a plot-owner of his legitimate FAR'” asked Mitra.

“If the rule comes into force, it will invite law-and-order problems, since land prospectors and realtors, in their frantic efforts to get more FAR, will use muscle power to drive out the encroachers in front of their plots,” pointed out CPM legislator and councillor Sudhangshu Sil.

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