Authorities have permitted a developer to more than double the number of floors of a residential project in Oshiwara four years after construction kicked off. The permission to make the 17-storey tower 44 storeys high was given on May 5.
The authority, in this case, is not the civic body but the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) as it is the development authority for Oshiwara.
Activist Sulaiman Bhimani obtained this information under the Right to Information Act and alleges that the plan for 44 floors was in place right from the start.
The developer, RNA Corporate, had initially planned a premium housing project with three-level parking and 14 floors for residential flats.
The new, approved plan includes a two-level basement, 11 floors of parking, a podium with gymnasium and swimming pool and 30 residential floors. The height of the building has risen from 53.2 metres to 140.8 metres.
The original approval for 17 floors was given in March 2007, after which work began. “The building excavation and foundation work commenced in 2007. Even then it was planned to be more than 40 floors,” alleges Bhimani. “In July 2010, when I enquired as buyer I was shown the 44-storey plan. It means this revision was planned from the beginning.”
In March 2011, the MMRDA had issued a stop-work notice after site inspection revealed that construction was not as per the approved plan.
“During the site visit, we found out that the two-level basement work had commenced without our approval, so we issued a stop-work notice. To this RNA Corporate replied that they were working as per the original plan. As there was ambiguity, we issued a second stop-work notice on April 27 and work stopped on April 28,” said Dilip Kawathkar, joint director (PR), MMRDA.
Following this, the required procedure was completed and on May 5, the revised plan was approved and work started on May 6, Kawathkar said.
When asked about the increase in the number of floors, he said the developer has used the Transferable Development Rights (TDR) to add to the floors. “They generated it by constructing tenements for Project Affected People and handing them over to the MMRDA. It is up to the developer to sell or use the TDR,” he said.
Manoj John, vice-president of RNA Corporate, said the original plan was for 17 storeys.
We commenced work in 2007, but the recession stopped it. Then, in 2010, we amended the plan for 44 floors. We obtained the Letter of Intent in 2011 and started work. We will modify the foundation work as required for 44 floors,” he said.