Replicating Mumbai’s skyscraper model, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has removed the height restrictions for residential and commercial towers in Mumbai’s twin city Thane, the fastest growing urban agglomerate in the state. It was the demand for space that made developers and policy makers in Mumbai build vertically. Today, the country’s commercial capital has the highest number of residential skyscrapers in India.
While buildings weren’t previously allowed to go over 92 metres or 30 storeys in Thane, the government has now lifted this cap. The urban development department, headed by the CM, has issued a notification modifying the development control regulations in Thane for this purpose.
With Thane witnessing a boom in construction, the municipality had been pushing the proposal for the last couple of years. While developers and town planners in the satellite city are saying lifting of the cap will make Thane architecturally more interesting and affordable, conservation and environmental activists are questioning the impact the move may have on the city’s infrastructure with the cramming of more people onto an acre of land.
“Mumbai is already bursting at its seams. It has paid a price for densification, while the housing stock in that city continues to remain out of bounds for most people. Now, the same highrise culture is being promoted in Thane,” cautioned a conservationist.
On the lines of the Mumbai model of development, builders who wish to build over 70-metre tall skyscrapers in Thane would require a special sanction from a government-appointed highrise committee.
With questions being raised often over the preparedness of Mumbai’s skyscrapers to fight a fire, the state government has made a no-objection nod from the fire brigade mandatory before approving any building proposed to grow taller than 60 metres or roughly 20 floors.
Senior government sources said special highrise regulations such as access to fire vehicles, size and number of staircases, fire lifts, refuse chutes, parking spaces, air-conditioning and ventilation systems, exits, fire alarm systems and fire protection installations, wet risers, hose reels, etc, which were already imposed for such buildings in the financial capital, had been made applicable in Thane too.