MUMBAI: The construction of a plush residential skyscraper on a tiny plot opposite Khar Gymkhana has been challenged in the Bombay high court on the grounds that it is "illegal''.
A writ petition filed by a bungalow owner, whose property is next to the upcoming highrise, attached copies of TOI reports on the project last August. This newspaper had revealed how initial permission from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was for a 12-storey building. But the builder, K Mordani Realty, approached the slum rehabilitation authority (SRA) and procured sanction to increase its height to 20 floors.
Mordani exploited a little-known provision under development control regulation 33 (14) to get higher floor space index (FSI), claiming it will construct free transit tenements for project-hit persons on that plot or elsewhere. These tenements would then be handed over to the SRA.
The petitioner, Harinder Pal Macker, said there were no slums or hutment-dwellers on the plot on 16th Road, Khar; a ground plus one-storey building existed there earlier. "Disclosure that permission for construction of a 20-storey building was granted shocked the petitioners. When the foundation was laid, it was only for a building consisting stilt, car parking podium and 14 upper floors. The foundation would not be able to bear the load of additional floors; it will endanger the building and its occupants, and also structures on adjoining plots,'' the petition said.
The BMC, SRA, state urban development department and builder have been named respondents in the petition.
Macker said there was no open space between his boundary wall. "How could the authorities grant permission for a multi-storey building on a small plot of 670 sq yards... building concessions were granted without mandatory open space requirements and without considering or notifying neighbouring plot owners,'' it said.
The BMC later issued a stop-work notice to the builder but Mordani approached the city civil court, which directed the building's architect to submit amended plans for regularization. The builder, however, approached the SRA to develop the plot under DCR 33 (14), "which contemplated that what is being constructed was a permanent transit accommodation''. The SRA approved the proposal for "providing a permanent transit colony having tenement carpet area of 300 sq ft each and FSI 2.5''. The petition said several approvals and concessions granted by the BMC and SRA were in "gross violation'' of various provisions and acts.
Macker has sought the court's direction to "demolish'' the illegal portions.