Open space order to hit projects in Mumbai: Builders

Friday, 27 December 2013 - 9:55am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
Say they will request state govt to issue an ordinance to neutralise the impact of the Supreme Court's directive.

Several builders have decided to request the state government to issue an ordinance to neutralise the impact of a Supreme Court (SC) order, which requires that they provide more open space around buildings.

An SC bench recently directed the civic body to make it mandatory for buildings to keep 15-25% of the plot open to sky at the ground level and to keep at least 6m space around the building (as compared to 1.5m previously) to allow the fire brigade to manoeuvre its vehicles in an emergency.

Last week, the civic body issues a circular to this effect and developers are worried that these requirements would stall a large number of projects that are already in the pipeline.

“It is highly impractical to keep such open-to-sky space at the ground level. This space is used for parking slots. So open space has been kept at the podium level. It would also hamper the basic architectural plan,” said Sunil Mantri, president, National Real Estate Development Council, and managing director of Mantri Realty Ltd.

The SC observed that ground level gardens are necessary because of “excessive concretisation and the significant reduction in open/green spaces” and that “a healthy environment is within the ambit of the right to life”. Environment activists insist that the order should be followed in letter and spirit. However, Mantri said this could not be implemented in the city, particularly in South Mumbai, where a large number of the plots were small. “It might be possible to implement this in Delhi or Pune where the plots are bigger,” he said.

“We will request the state government to either make an amendment in the development control rules or issue an ordinance,” Mantri said and added that builders were also considering filing a review petition in the SC against the order.

Sanjay Razdan, a senior architect, said that while it was important to have recreation space, it did not matter whether this was at the ground level or the podium. “We should not go into technicalities that will create a problem. Likewise, there are height restrictions on the construction of parking space at the podium level. Then, where will we provide the parking slots,” he asked.

Nayana Kathpalia, trustee of the Oval Maidan Trust which protects open and green spaces across the city, said the state government and the civic body cannot go against the SC order. “Open and green spaces are important for people’s health. Developers want to exploit every inch of land. We have to protect the shrinking green spaces,” she said.

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An SC bench recently directed the civic body to make it mandatory for buildings to keep 15-25% of the plot open to sky at the ground level and to keep at least 6m space around the building (as compared to 1.5m previously) to allow the fire brigade to manoeuvre its vehicles in an emergency.


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