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Civic chief asks BMC,fire dept to adhere to SC order on open spaces

Builders’ body plans to file review petition in apex court

Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte Tuesday instructed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s Development Plan and fire departments to ensure strict compliance of the December 17 Supreme Court order that makes it mandatory for buildings to leave recreation space at the ground level and adequate open space for smooth passage of fire engines.

While the BMC has initiated action to implement the order despite its adverse impact on several major real estate projects in the city,the Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI),the umbrella organisation of 1,500-plus builders is planning to file a review petition against the order.

“We are planning to file a review petition with the SC in response to the order on various aspects. The major concern is that if implemented,the order will stall more than 60 per cent of the construction projects in the city,especially the redevelopment projects,” said Vimal Shah,president,MCHI and managing director,Hubtown (Ackruti City).

The Supreme Court had ruled that developers will have to mandatorily set aside a minimum 15-25 per cent of the plot size at the ground level towards open recreational spaces. Many buildings in the recent past have been creating such recreational spaces at the podium level and adding it to the open space at the ground level to fulfil the minimum 15-25 per cent open space norm.

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In addition,the order states that developers have to keep at least six metres of open space on a plot to enable firefighting. Hitherto,schemes of redevelopment of cessed buildings,cluster development and slum rehabilitation were allowed to keep just 1.5 metre of open space on plots less than 600 sq m.

Industry sources said the rule would affect redeveloment of old buildings,especially in Masjid Bunder,Bhendi Bazaar,Sandhurst Road,Dongri,Kalbadevi and Pydhonie,where pre-1960 buildings abound in narrow lanes.

The 3,000-member strong Practising Engineers,Architects & Town Planners Association (PEATA) is also planning to write to Kunte and the Chief Minister to discuss alternative solutions. “The BMC should have approached the builders and architects to present their concerns before issuing a stringent circular. By implementing the rule,the civic body will lose out on huge revenue from floor space index (FSI) premiums,” said Ratan Bhalwankar,joint secretary of PEATA.

First published on: 26-12-2013 at 02:13 IST
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