Delhi Development Authority
NEW DELHI: Almost a year after Delhi Development Authority increased the cap on height of residential buildings from 15 metres to 17.5 metres, no one has benefited from the new policy. The municipal corporations in the city are unable to sanction building plans with 17.5 metre height as it would require clearance from Delhi Fire Service (DFS) which insists on leaving a six-metre setback around the building.
Under the DFS rules, any structure which is more than 15 metres in height is considered a high-rise. "For high-rises, it is mandatory to leave a setback of six metres so that there is adequate space for fire tenders to move around in case of an emergency. For any structure above 15 metres in height, an NOC (no objection certificate) from the fire department is required,'' says AK Sharma, chief fire officer.
With a majority of plots in Delhi less than 250 sq metre in size, residents say it is difficult to leave a setback of six metres around the building. In the past one year, no plan with 17.5 metres height has been approved by the civic agencies. "If we leave a six-metre setback, there will be no space left on the plot. What's the point of revising the height if people are not able to benefit from it,'' says Pankaj Agarwal, general secretary of Safdurjung Development Area RWA.
Officials say the height of residential buildings was revised as the government had made stilt parking mandatory in all new constructions. "To address the growing parking problem in the city, stilt parking was made mandatory. Due to this, people had to reduce the height of each floor so that they would be able to construct a third floor. The decision to increase the height from 15 metres to 17.5 metres was taken so that owners won't have to compromise on the height of each floor,'' said a municipal official.
Now, residents want the central government to exempt new structures from fire clearance. "DDA and the urban development ministry should reconsider the policy and make necessary amendments so that people can avail the benefits of the policy. The six-metre setback clause should be removed,'' said Agarwal, who has written to the Union urban development minister in this regard.
Municipal officials say till the time necessary changes are made in the policy, they can't approve buildings under the revised guidelines.