MUMBAI: A high court-directed report prepared by the civic administration could force the developer of Palais Royale, touted as India's tallest residential tower, to rework its plan.
The BMC has ordered that areas exempted from the Worli Naka building's floor space index (FSI) be now counted as part of it. FSI is a ratio that determines how much can be built on a plot.
The under-construction tower, planned up to 320m, was embroiled in litigation following allegations of building violations. Refuge areas, passages , swimming pools and structural columns were not included in the FSI when Palais Royale's plans were approved by the BMC seven years ago.
Asenior civic official said that municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte's order implied that the tower's total built up area could reduce by about 30%, a contention described as "speculative" by the developer. Kunte completed his report last week following last May's high court directive.
A spokesperson of the developer, Shree Ram Urban Infrastructure Ltd, said the firm had just received the order and would seek legal opinion. "We have all along followed legal sanctions and permissions and acted within law. The order appears to be in total violation of the Bombay high court judgment and totally disregards the order of the city civil court. The existing sanctions given by municipal authorities and the state government after going through the torturous process of various departments and after due consideration have been ignored . We are confident that the judiciary will uphold the rule of law."
The building reached a height of 56 floors when work halted. An NGO, Janhit Manch, had filed a PIL against the developer, alleging a series of building violations. Although the court rejected most of the points raised in the PIL, it directed the commissioner to review the excessively large areas sanctioned by the BMC.
The BMC's report observed, "The builder tried to install the project, at times in defiance of regulations. This act of defiance was evident in the construction of 44th to 56th floors when BMC permission was only up to the 43th floor. This is a very serious matter ... The project proponent needs to eschew temptation to take recourse to defiance and then to present a fait accompli to the planning authority."
PALAIS ROYALE CONTROVERSY
Last May, the high court refused to order demolition of 13 floors of Palais Royale, which built up to 56 floors while the BMC said it had permitted 43.
The court observed that the permitted refuge area in the building appeared excessive and directed the municipal commissioner to reconsider the refuge area, which was exempt from FSI.
It told the civic chief to examine the issue of passages at manor level and entrance, swimming pool, etc.
The total refuge area (fire shelters) in Palais Royale should be reduced from 15% to 4% as mandated by law. Excessive refuge areas (beyond 4%) is to be included in the FSI.
Passages connecting to flats, swimming pools and covered areas cannot be considered as common areas to be accessed by all and need to be part of the floor space index.
A spokesperson of Shree Ram Urban Infrastructure Ltd said the firm would seek legal opinion.He said the BMC's order was in total violation of the Bombay high court's judgment.