The BMC had in 2001 rejected a proposal by the Sukhada and Shubhada cooperative housing societies to de-reserve a garden plot and rezone it for residential purposes. This is the same area that was added to the plot thereby allowing the society to avail of extra FSI (floor space index) and raise the height of the twin towers. Sukhada,14-storeyed and Shubadha,32-storeyed,mostly house politicians and businessmen.
The public purpose is not served (if the garden plot is de-reserved/deleted) and the proposed modification (to rezone it as residential) will be beneficial only to developers of the adjoining residential plots and therefore garden may be developed on the plot, said the December 11,2001,letter by the then BMCs chief engineer of development planning department to the Under Secretary of the Urban Development Department.
The portion of the marked area is existing and being used as garden. The need to delete may not be justified. The land forming the portion in Worli area is part of the Municipal Estate Scheme and belongs to municipal corporation and even if reservation is deleted,the land can be merged with the adjoining plot only with the sanction of the corporation, the letter stated.
Further,it also points out that the land falls within 500 metres from the high tide line and the Ministry of Environment & Forest (MoEF) rules are applicable in this case.
The two buildings received additional 30 per cent of their built-up area through extra FSI of an adjoining open plot meant for use as a garden. On April 12,the civic administration issued fresh notices asking members of the society such as Deputy CM Ajit Pawar,BJPs Gopinath Munde,State Congress President Manikrao Thakre,Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil and Forest Minister Patangrao Kadam why they should not be prosecuted for making illegal modifications to their units.
Though a state government notification allows such open plots to be used by adjoining residential plots to increase FSI,these plots have to be developed to a garden at a later stage,said a civic official. In case of these two buildings,they used up the additional FSI to construct more flats but did not develop the garden, he said.
Though the buildings received additional FSI on the condition that the plot meant for garden will be developed accordingly,norms were not followed. It has received almost a third of its FSI based on the change of user from garden to residential, said Amit Maru,activist. He had complained about these violations to BMC.
Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte had said the persons served notices have been asked to correct the illegalities.