The BMC has increased fire safety scrunity fee by up to seven times for issuing no-objection certificates to developers for highrises, both residential and commercial. The revised charges are applicable to new buildings and existing ones if there is any revision in the plan, amalgamation of units, change of user and activity, said a circular recently issued by the BMC.
In absolute terms, for most projects it could go up to Rs 50,000 to a few lakhs.
According to the circular, the fire safety scrutiny fee for buildings having a height of up to 32m tall (between seven to 10 storeys) has been increased from Rs 43/sq m to Rs 100/sq m for residential structures and Rs 200/sq m for commercial ones. Residential and commercial buildings having a height of 32m-70m will now have to pay Rs 200/sq m and Rs 300/sq m, respectively instead of Rs 65/sq m.
Similarly, for residential and commercial structures 70m-120m tall, the charge has been increased to Rs 300/sq m and Rs 400/sq m, respectively from Rs 65/sq m. The fee has been hiked the highest for buildings that are taller than 120m-from Rs 65 to Rs 400/sq m for residential structures and Rs 500/sq m for commercial ones.
The one-time fire safety scrunity fee is calculated on the basis of the structure’s built-up area. So, a builder of a 32m-tall building spread on 1,000 sq m of area currently paying 43,000 will now end up paying Rs 1 lakh.
Though municipal commissioner Iqbal Chahal had not announced any new taxes or hike in existing taxes in the BMC budget last year, he had said that Mumbaikars will have to shell out more money for fees and charges.
The BMC had also announced that it would soon collect scrutiny fees for granting permission to provide fire and life safety measures in buildings, a fire service fee and set up a fee revision authority to decide the increase in rates of civic services.
“Considering the exponential increase in the capital value of buildings, the proposal is under consideration for a major revision of fire safety scrutiny fees. This will fetch additional revenue for the BMC to strengthen the infrastructure of the Mumbai Fire Brigade,” Chahal had then said. The BMC is expecting to generate an additional revenue of Rs 140 crore from the revised scrutiny fees.
But BJP leader Vinod Mishra, who had taken up the issue of BMC’s failure to levy fire service charges last year, said the hike must be gradual. “The BMC must revise this scrutiny fee structure; it should increase marginally every year over a period of five years. This kind of five-fold hike in just one year is not fair. Builders will pass on this added cost to buyers,” he said.