Open space order will affect most projects in city, says civic chief

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

"Practically every project in the island city will be affected," Kunte told Newsline. 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 apex court on Tuesday categorically stated that 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 Supreme Court ruling is now the law of land and we will not approve any proposal which is in violation of those rules," Kunte said.

The Supreme Court 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

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