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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Gujarat govt looks up to Dubai, Singapore, comes up with draft policy to allow skyscrapers

A government release said that the new policy will change Gujarat’s skyline with “iconic buildings like the skyscrapers of Dubai and Singapore”.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Updated: August 19, 2020 12:41:16 pm
Vijay Rupani, Vijay Raths, Coronavirus awareness, welfare scheme, Indina express newsFlagging off the chariots, CM Vijay Rupani said that these raths will strengthen the Gujarat government’s resolution to defeat coronavirus. (File)

In an attempt to promote skyscrapers in Gujarat, the state government has come out with a draft “tall building policy” that will allow construction of buildings having 70 floors or more. As per the existing law, buildings in the state cannot have more than 23 floors, official sources said on Tuesday.

A government release said that the new policy will change Gujarat’s skyline with “iconic buildings like the skyscrapers of Dubai and Singapore”.

“It is a draft policy for tall buildings, for which we are inviting objections in the next 60 days. It is a new policy which will allow high-rise buildings which are over 100 metres in height in Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara and Gandhinagar. Earlier, the maximum height permitted was 70 metres and now we are removing this restriction,” said an official of the urban development department. “Under this policy, we will be permitting FSI (Floor Space Index) upto 5.4 and if the plot is near a road of 30 metres or more, sky is the limit for the builder,” the official said.

However, the policy will be applicable only to areas controlled by urban development authorities in the five cities — such as AUDA (Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority) and GUDA (Gandhinagar Urban Development Authority).

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, during an event hosted by CREDAI (Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India in 2019, had announced his government’s intent to go vertical and build skyscrapers like those in Singapore and Dubai.

Such skyscrapers can come up in areas having a base FSI of 1.2 and above. Builders will have to pay for the additional FSI which will be 50 per cent of the existing jantri for non-agricultural land. The minimum plot size is 2,500 square metres for buildings that range from 100-150 metres. For buildings with a height of over 150 metres, the minimum plot size will be 3,500 square metres.

Talking about the fire safety in future buildings that are over 100 metres tall, the official said, “We did research for this and we had called experts from Mumbai. We have studied policies of Mumbai and Noida, and globally too buildings over 100 metres do not depend over external fire fighting support. It is all internal.”

When pointed out that cities like Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar are seismically active zones and whether it would be wise to build skyscrapers, the official said that a special technical committee (STC) will be appointed with experts from different fields, which will clear projects case by case. Several processes, including vent tunnel test and disaster management plan, will be executed, similar to what is being done in Mumbai.

The Gujarat chapter of CREDAI described the draft policy for tall buildings as positive.

“In western Ahmedabad, the higher FSI will ensure that skyscrapers could be built alongside Sindhu Bhavan Road, SG road and Ambli-Bopal road. These areas have FSI of more than 1.2,” said Ashish Patel, a local real estate developer and head of Gujarat chapter of CREDAI.

The builders believe that going higher by adding more floors will increase the construction costs. This is contrary to the state government’s claim which stated that the taller structures will lower the cost of real-estate.

After the devastating Kutch earthquake in 2001, the quality and design aspects in construction of both residential and commercial structures have gone a massive change. “Today, every building is approved by a structural engineer. This was the not the case earlier,” said a developer, who did not wish to be named.

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