inconsistencies in measurement could introduce variations as high as 24 per cent.
“Like many other countries India too has irregularities when it comes to measurement practices. The variation could occur in measurement of properties of similar configuration and located within the same area. The inconsistency can be witnessed across states,” says Sandhir.
To begin with, there are wide variations in land measurements. States have commonly accepted units to measure and sub-divide land that has been in place for historical reasons. In Tamil Nadu and Kerala there is a measure called cent, in Maharashtra there is gunta, in many northern states there is the bigha, in Punjab and Haryana in addition to bigha, there is kanal and marla.
There are variations in the sub-divisions too. “These are not uniform across states,” says Ganesan Shyam Sunder, a Chennai-based advocate who has authored a book ‘Property Registration, Land Records and Building Approval Procedures Followed In Various States In India’.
For example, in Assam, one acre equals three bighas and eight chains. The same acre in Bihar equals a bigha. In Haryana that would equal four bighas. States such as Orissa and West Bengal have a measure called decimals where one acre equals 100 decimals. Orissa, however, has a unique distinction, in that it follows two measurement standards within the state. In the Cuttack area, one acre equals 100 decimals, but in the state capital Bhubaneswar, an acre equals 1,000 decimals.
These differences do not matter much when buying agricultural land for agricultural purposes, but such differing yardsticks when adopted for housing, could introduce wide variations, for every inch of space is critical to a developer’s calculation.
Such differences are also seen in building construction. “All states do not follow a common benchmark for building construction. Some states use FSI and others use FAR (floor area ratio),” says Shyam Sunder.
While FSI and FAR are used interchangeably, there is a slight difference. FSI, used in Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat, allows built up area in proportion to the land holding.
If a plot has area of say 2,400 sq ft, and if FSI is 1.5, then the maximum that can be constructed would be 2400 × 1.5= 3600 sq ft. This would be the total built up area across all floors subject to development restrictions.
In the FAR concept, followed in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Assam, Delhi, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Rajasthan, there is also a maximum plot coverage ratio.
For FAR 1.5