In an attempt to alleviate those hit by the sealing crunch that has lately been under the spotlight of Delhi’s politics in advance of the probable polls for the 20 assembly seats which witnessed disqualification of Delhi State MLAs, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) is on the verge of expanding the Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of business enterprises that will augment ground covering and floors.

The DDA intends to bring solace to ‘local shopping centres (LSCs)’, that were previously termed as shop-cum-residential areas, by advancing the FAR from 180 to 300. This translates to the fact that they will get more ground coverage and floors — in comparison to the previous three floors to four.

It is also reported that the Central Government is consulting on whether to call upon the ‘larger public interest’ to lower conversion fees to support traders whose establishments are within the scope of being sealed.

The SC-designated supervisory panel had commenced the sealing campaign in LSCs for misappropriation and default of conversion charges, under recent coercion from the court.

According to news reports, the DDA technical committee went in for the issue of raising FAR on Tuesday and the panel gave it a go-ahead. This has received favorable reception from the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry since DDA falls within the administrative jurisdiction of the Ministry. However, the increment in FAR will be depending on conditions of provision of parking facilities and approval of construction plans from municipal corporations, according to sources.

In territories like Lajpat Nagar, Defence Colony, Greater Kailash, Hauz Khas and other geographies, the FAR of 180 permits a three-storey structure. As the FAR has been raised to 300, these land holdings are entitled up to four storeys.

The DDA technical panel had met after Delhi LG Anil Baijal lately instructed the authority to come up with a feasible solution. The committee comprises delegates from municipal corporations and the Delhi government.

Right from the beginning of the sealing campaign, sellers have been calling upon the government to deal with the irregularities in the Delhi Master Plan. The FAR for business enterprises in LSCs is lower than that for shops on commercial streets and the conversion fee to convert the use from residential to commercial is much more in the case of LSCs as compared to commercial streets.

Apart from that, LSCs informed in the Master Plan, are permitted FAR of 180, while it is 300 on streets that were declared as commercial in 2006.

In the meantime, housing and urban affairs minister, Hardeep Singh Puri met with Baijal, executives from his cabinet, DDA and the municipal corporations to discuss a tangible resolution to the perpetual predicament.

According to reports, the two alternatives that the Centre is considering are whether it can lower the public notice period for change of land utilization from 30 days and if the conversion fees can be lowered.

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