Cities Legislation

Bandra Kurla Complex Height Restriction Raised to 73 Meters

A mini Manhattan at the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) has been the dream of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). Now, almost two years after it doubled the developable floor space index (FSI) from 2 to 4 at the BKC, the MMRDA can hope to live that dream.

The Union ministry of civil aviation has started easing height restrictions on buildings at the BKC, one of the costliest business districts in the city. The first to get its nod was the seven-star Hotel Accor. Recently, the ministry also granted permission to Wadhwa Developers and Parini Developers to construct 73-metre tall(or up to 16-storey) buildings. Currently, the tallest buildings at the BKC — Platina, Naman Centre and two commercial buildings by Tata and Raheja developers — stand at 52 metres (or up to 12 storeys) each.

The ministry was opposed to the idea of highrises at the BKC as a major portion of it comes within the flight path of aeroplanes taking off from the Santa Cruz (domestic) and Sahar (international) airports. It has not eased the height restriction on all buildings; it has started considering cases individually.

The MMRDA, however, is not happy. It wants every building at the BKC to be allowed to rise "not just 73 metres, but 90 metres".

MMRDA commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad said, "We are hoping that the aviation ministry will allow the building height to be raised to 90 metres. It will give a big boost to the property market."

Top corporate houses, such as Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries, ING Vysya Bank, Raghuleela Leasing and Real Estate Pvt Ltd, Starlite Systems Pvt Ltd, Satnam Realtors, Parini Developers Pvt Ltd, Shri Naman Developers Pvt Ltd, Oriental Bank of Commerce and State Bank of India, have purchased additional FSIs.

Cities Legislation Master Plan

MMRDA Priorities Lopsided

By Nauzar Bharucha for the TNN

Is the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) suffering from hubris? Its plan to set up a 101-storey iconic commercial tower in Wadala at a phenomenal cost of over Rs 4,000 crore has raised serious questions about its sense of priority among urban experts and town planners. It has already been touted as one of the 10 tallest buildings in the world.

MMRDA’s think-tank has estimated that the project will earn it a rent of Rs 1,800 crore a year by leasing out 60 lakh sq ft of build up space in the tower to corporates and MNCs. But with recent estimates showing that Mumbai is expected to be flooded with over two crore sq ft of office space by 2011, real estate experts are skeptical about the financial feasibility of MMRDA’s iconic tower.

As it is, office space is going abegging with the numero uno central business district of Nariman Point currently staring at a vacancy level of 10% to 15%. Commercial lease rentals have already crashed by 25% to 50% in different commercial enclaves of the city. And the situation is expected to worsen with excessive supply of office space flooding the market in the next two years.

Cities Legislation Master Plan Public Realm Social Responsibility

Think of people when you develop: activists

Express News Service
A week after the state government decided to set up a committee for ‘Slumless Mumbai’, activists have called for the need to keep inclusive development at the heart of any new policy.

On Monday, at a panel discussion held by the housing rights group Ghar Banao Ghar Bhacao Andolan, several social activists highlighted the absolute lack of people-centric development in a majority of policies of the state government. The activists who were part of the panel include Urban Studies professor at Tata Institute of Social Studies Amita Bhide, architect and urban researcher Neera Adakar, transport expert Sudhir Badami and leader of National Alliance of People’s Movement Medha Patkar.

“The problem with committees like the one that has been formed for transforming Mumbai into a ‘slumless’ city as well as existing schemes like SRA, is that it is focused on increasing the Floor Space Index. No thought is given to the fact that resettling slumdwellers in tiny flats in highrises means adding more density and straining the infrastructure,” said Adarkar. She gave the example of the Dharavi Redevelopment Scheme where slumdwellers were first promised bigger homes and then the FSI was increased in a way that the developers too get to construct more flats for selling in the open market.

Legislation Master Plan

Dharavi project gets an expert panel

An expert committee has been set up to advise the government on planning, management and implementation of the Dharavi makeover project. The 11-member committee comprising architects, city planners, activists and former bureaucrats has been approved by Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.

The panel includes former chief secretary D M Sukhtankar, former IAS officer Sunder Burra, urban planner Vidyadhar Phatak, architect Shirish Patel, housing expert Chandrashekhar Prabhu, architects Arvind and Neera Adarkar, director of the Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute of Architecture Aniruddh Paul, Society for the Promotion of Area Research Centres (SPARC) Director Sheela Patel and SPARC founder and National Slum Dwellers Federation convener Jockin Arputham.

Legislation Master Plan

‘Changes’ in development plan worry citizens

The civic body’s new Development Plan (DP), slated to be released in 2011, is generating fear in the minds of active citizens as areas reserved for municipal markets in the old DP have gradually been parceled over to private parties for years.

A Right to Information (RTI) application filed by activist Vidya Vaidya revealed that many such plots on the DP reserved for municipal markets have disappeared and, instead, commercial super markets have come up.

Similarly, reservation of open spaces for recreations grounds and playgrounds, sculptor’s studios, municipal primary schools and hospitals have also disappeared from the DP.

In 2006, General Arun Kumar Vaidya Nagar Rahawasi Sangh had won a case where the concerned authorities were asked to build municipal markets within two years.