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SC open space order will affect most projects in city: Mumbai civic chief

Redevelopment projects account for at least 60 per cent of building projects in the city.

Written by Sharvari Patwa | Mumbai |
December 19, 2013 2:34:01 am

Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte Wednesday said a sizeable number of building projects will be affected following Supreme Court ruling Tuesday ordering mandatory provision of open recreation spaces at the ground level.

“Practically every project in the island city will be affected,” Kunte said. The BMC chief’s office receives about 500-700 building projects a year and the civic body earns over Rs 1,500 crore by charging builders a variety of premiums,including those for compensatory floor space index (FSI).

The SC Tuesday categorically stated the prescribed minimum ground-level open spaces around a building cannot be reduced and replicated on an open-to-sky podium. The court held that developers would have to mandatorily set aside at least 15-25 per cent of the plot size at the ground level towards open recreational spaces. At present,many buildings have been creating recreational spaces at the podium level,instead of providing all of it on the ground level.

Kunte said he has stopped clearing any file relating to open space on podiums,or mandatory open space requirement in redevelopment projects to ease firefighting. “None of the files that relate to the development control regulation (DCR) norms mentioned in ruling has been cleared today,” he said. “We cannot give open space on podium in lieu of open space on the ground level,” he added.

“The SC ruling is now the law of land and we will not approve any proposal which is in violation of those rules,” Kunte said. The SC also said developers have to keep at least six metres of open space on a plot to enable firefighting. At present,redevelopment schemes of cessed buildings,cluster development and slum rehabilitation projects were given an exception when it came to providing mandatory space for firefighting. For plots less than 600 sq m,these schemes would allow 1.5 metre of open space.

“With a mandatory open space of six metres on plots less than 600 sq m,redevelopment of buildings is bound to stop completely. This will push up home prices,” said Vimal Shah,president of Maharashtra Chamber of Housing and Industry (MCHI) and managing director of Hubtown (Ackruti City). “Most projects will cease to be profitable,” Shah said.

Redevelopment projects account for at least 60 per cent of building projects in the city.

Pointing to the SC order which stated that the difference in the open space requirements for redevelopment projects and others is unconstitutional as it means applying different fire safety standards for different classes of people,Kunte said,“Redevelopment projects could avail of concessions in open space requirements with regards to fire safety norms,but this will not be possible now.”

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