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Premium FAR hits roadblock; Karnataka governor raises queries

The bill on the 'premium' floor area ratio has been awaiting Governor Thawar Chand Gehlot's assent for the last four months. Sources said this was because the Governor was not convinced about the bill.
Last Updated : 26 June 2024, 21:08 IST

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Bengaluru: The state government’s ambitious plan of raising additional revenue by allowing high-rises has hit an obstacle, with the Raj Bhavan raising multiple queries on the new legislation.

The bill on the 'premium' floor area ratio has been awaiting Governor Thawar Chand Gehlot's assent for the last four months. Sources said this was because the Governor was not convinced about the bill.

The doubts raised by the Governor include the overlapping provisions in the new legislation and the existing scheme on transferable development rights (TDR). There were also questions on the rationale behind fixing 40 per cent of the guidance value for providing extra floors.

While the Urban Development Department (UDD) has been communicating with the Governor’s office to clear the doubts, the recent change of guard in the UDD may have also slowed down the process of ensuring checks and balances, it is learnt.

Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the Karnataka Assembly had passed the Karnataka Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Bill in February, even as members of the Opposition parties staged a protest against the move.

While Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar said the bill would bring additional revenue for undertaking development projects, former chief minister Basavaraj Bommai spoke against it, saying the quality of life in Bengaluru would take a hit.

When the Governor did not give his assent to the bill for nearly a month, the state government hurriedly issued a notification, amending the existing rules to allow construction of high-rise buildings by charging a premium fee.

Top government officials told DH that the Karnataka Planning Authorities (Amendment) Rules, 2024, has not been enforced, anticipating the Governor’s assent to the new legislation on premium FAR.

SR Umashankar, additional chief secretary, UDD, said he was not aware of the current status of the legislation as he was new to the office.

Reliable sources in the Governor’s office told DH that it had sought a few queries on the legislation, which has delayed the formalities of giving assent.

In its 2024-25 budget, the BBMP had hoped to earn a revenue of Rs 500 crore through premium FAR, which was seen as easy to issue, unlike the cumbersome TDR scheme.

There were, however, concerns that TDR — issued to owners for parting with their properties for a public project — would become irrelevant, but the government had mandated the use of both TDR and premium FAR for bigger projects.

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Published 26 June 2024, 21:08 IST

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