Building plan order in Mumbai hides more than it reveals
Dec 01, 2013
Source : The Times of India

 

MUMBAI:Architects are strongly opposed to the new directive issued by state information commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad terming them as dubious.

Gaikwad on September 29 had issued orders barring all public authorities in the state from providing building plans under the Right to Information Act.

Following a report in TOI, he then withdrew it issuing a revised order defining what could be provided under RTI. These include FSI statement, Coverage statement, Key plan showing marginal distances, Parking statement, key plan showing areas which are given free of FSI under balconies, staircase passages etc, Cross section of building, IOD/ CC, Occupation Certificate & all other relevant details( except internal layout of the rooms in the building & interiors and internal detailing in the building).

Architect, town planner and civic activist P K Das said Gaikwad instead of saying what can be provided should have listed what is prohibited. It would have made his intention clear. There is no mention of floor plans which is more detailed. A key plan is only a summary and submitted for ease of computation. There is no mention of site and layout plans, fungible fsi, plans for mandatory open space reservations and areas free of fsi in the revised order.”

Architect Nitin Killawala who has obtained construction plans of Metro Line I and II under RTI and exposed various short-comings in the plans and based on which a PIL has been filed said the revised order is absurd. It specifies information which is irrelevant while withholding interlinked plans and documents which make intentions obvious,” he said.

Gaikwad said the revised order is very exhaustive. Please read my order dated November 21 very carefully. Even internal detailing/interiors can be insisted upon provided public interest is made out by the information seeker,” he said.

The fact is that the building proposal (BP dept) is not the only authority on whose scrutiny IOD/CC are issued, said Killawala.. The BP department is mere a conduit whose job is to assimilate NOCs and sanctions from a maze of authorities and civil departments such as fire brigade, collector, assessment, traffic, city survey, water, sewage, tree authority, roads, civil aviation etc.

A PIL is currently being heard on the NOCs granted by the fire brigade across the city which instead of protecting lives endangers lives and property. Documents were again obtained under RTI.

Every department scrutinises plans and documents, independently, and approves the same in utmost corrupt manner,” said Killawala.

The architect said the Concession Report_ which summarises all the above approvals as well as various scrutiny fees, premiums, deposits, etc. by the government has been unscrupulously not mentioned in the list of information to be issued.

He further said the FSI statement in isolation is not significant because it does not state free of FSI areas. These FSI free areas are integral part of the calculation and specifically shown in the plans and area diagrams. As such most violation are done in approving such FSI free spaces,” he said..

Similarly – Cross Sections – may indicate height or number of floors of the structure but always drawn in conjunction with the plans which shows various planning provision and users. Thus the plans are very important document.

The violations exposed by activists based on documents obtained through RTI are so serious it forced the BMC to change the Development Control Rules in

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