Recreational ground areas (RG) on alternate floors might be the most glaring part of the upcoming Lotus Complex in Worli, but the project comprising high-end residential buildings, an IT hub and a luxury hotel also has other components which have raised the hackles of civic officials and architects alike.
In an internal note, BMC chief Sitaram Kunte has called the elevated RGs “part of a dubious methodology to create FSI out of thin air”.
The property is currently owned by Hall & Andersons Ltd. Refuting the claim, their representative Kamlesh Mehta said, "There is no violation [of FSI] in our project."
However, a closer look at the details of the project reveals that the project has many aspects which might be under the scanner.
For instance, the project doesn’t have a green nod. According to documents obtained by Hindustan Times, though the project had received a clearance from the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) far back in September 2011, it did not include the developer’s plan to build a fourth building for exclusive use for IT purposes.
The developer amended plans in January 2012 and included one more building. However, the civic body cleared the plan, despite there not being any green nod to it.
An internal civic report presented to Kunte early this year confirmed this, but added that they will insist on an MoEF nod before granting a commencement certificate (CC) to the builder for the rest of the project.
Ironically, the project also proposes refuge area far more than what norms mandate. While the National Building Construction Code mandates that only 15 square metres be provided on each floor after a distance of 14 metres, the builder has proposed a refuge area of as much as 130 square metres on certain floors, even going up to 172 square metres.
In addition, the builder has also proposed balconies, elevation treatment and ducts on each floor, which will be surrounding the flats but will not be counted in the FSI calculations. “What this will do is that while the builder doesn’t have to pay a penny to the BMC to construct it, such areas can always be merged with flats and buyers can be charged for it,” said an architect, not wishing to be named.
Kunte is abroad and refused to respond to calls or messages. HT tried contacting the liasioning architect for the project, Shashikant Jadhav of Spaceage consultants, who refused to comment.