IN a major decision that is bound to have a significant impact on development activity in the city, the Maharashtra government on Tuesday decided to ban construction within a distance of 100 feet of hill slopes in urban areas across the state. The state government’s order comes over two years after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had asked it to not allow any construction near hill tops and hill slopes.
A government resolution (GR) issued on Wednesday stated, “The National Green Tribunal, on May 19, 2015, had issued direction to the state government to issue orders to all urban local bodies to not give permissions for building constructions on hill tops and hill slopes till the 100 feet area from the hill boundary”.
The NGT direction had come in response to a petition challenging illegal constructions on Katraj hill after the excavation of the hill. A few years ago, illegal construction activity on Katraj hill had led to flash flood on the highway, resulting in the death of a woman and her daughter.
As per the government resolution, the planning authority, while preparing the development plan of their respective area, should mark a ‘no development zone or open space’ within a 100 feet area of hill slopes. The directive further stated that if development has already taken place legally within 100-feet area of a hill slope, then additional Floor Space Index (FSI) or Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) should not be issued to the existing structure.
The state government urged urban bodies that plots, with part of their area in the 100 feet limit, should be given permission for construction activity with the clear direction that the area falling within the 100 feet limit would be ‘non-buildable’; it should be an open space or road.
PMC’s City Engineer Prashant Waghmare said that the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is going to study the government resolution and implement it effectively. “The area falling within 100 feet of hill slopes would be defined and appropriate steps would be taken to implement the state government’s decision,” he added.
Meanwhile, the PMC is still waiting for the state government’s approval on the proposed reservation for a Bio Diversity Plan (BDP) zone in an area under the 23 merged villages.