Explain Mumbai's high-rise sprawl: SC
- http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-07-27/mumbai/40832577_1_stop-work-notice-open-spaces-the-scExplain Mumbai's high-rise sprawl: SCSwati Deshpande, TNN Jul 27, 2013, 12.45AM ISTMUMBAI: The Supreme Court on Thursday came down heavily on the excessive construction of skyscrapers in the island city. Expressing concern at their "adverse impact on urban life", it directed the state to explain relaxations in height restrictions and compulsory greens.The court was hearing the BMC's challenge to a Bombay high court order of July 2012 that quashed a civic stop-work notice, allowing construction of a 13-storey parking lot by Kohinoor CTNL Infrastructure Co near Shivaji Park. The director of the company is Unmesh Joshi, the son of former CM Manohar Joshi of the Shiv Sena.Lack of open spaces would adversely affect people: SCDuring the hearing of a BMC appeal against a Bombay high court (HC) order quashing a stop-work notice to Kohinoor CTNL Infrastructure Co, the Supreme Court (SC) raised several questions regarding green spaces and fire-preparedness, only to find "serious issues that require urgent attention as they concern sustainable development of a city". The company is constructing three buildings on mill land, one touted to be the city's tallest commercial building.The SC issued a notice to the state, which was not party to the case, and framed four questions that the government must answer. It observed that Mumbai's rising population and lack of open spaces should sound the alarm bells for urban planners before more FSI is permitted. The SC wants an explanation on whether relaxations pertaining to ground-floor recreational area and podium are justified."Recreational areas and greens in multi-storey buildings have to be scrupulously safeguarded," said an SC bench of Justices G S Singhvi and H L Gokhale. "Floor Space Index (FSI)-the buildable potential of a plot of land-must take into consideration the availability of civic infrastructure, including open spaces, transport facilities, requirements for protection against fire, water supply, sewerage and electricity."An increase in FSI is likely to result into an increase in population density. FSI has an important bearing on the quality of urban life."About redevelopment in congested areas, the SC said skyscrapers abutting narrow roads bring "more vehicles in an already congested area".The SC called for a relook at town planning laws, saying the problem is that they factor in only two out of three compelling needs: more house stock, recreational areas and an assessment of the city's sustainable capacity for balanced development. Development control rules provide for recreation ground area around buildings at 15-25% of plot size. In the Kohinoor case, the BMC had allowed plans despite the developer keeping aside less than half the ground-area open space requirement. The developer said the law allowed recreational area at podium level.''The principle of sustainable development is an integral part of a citizen's right to life and deserves to be applied to town and urban planning throughout the country,'' the SC said.The SC said, "We are surprised that the BMC did not look into the reduction of the recreational area at the ground level seriously, probably because the rule permits recreational space on the podium... Lack of open space... would have serious adverse impact on the right to life of citizens."