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Residents, traders breathe easy

The threat of demolition lifted from residential buildings in the Capital after SC order allowing three floors in buildings in plotted residential colonies, report Moushumi Das Gupta and Neelam Pandey.

delhi Updated: Mar 15, 2008 03:17 IST

The threat of demolition lifted from more than three-lakh residential buildings in the Capital on Friday following a Supreme Court order allowing three floors in buildings in plotted residential colonies.

Plotted colonies are called thus because allottees were given individual plots of varying sizes by the government to build houses. Delhi has 438 such colonies. Over them, planned areas of the city have group housing colonies and co-operative societies.

The owners of the more-than-three lakh properties erupted in joy on Friday following the order as these buildings faced the threat of demolition since May 2007 when the Supreme Court held third floors as illegal as they stretch the city’s creaking civic infrastructure.

Armed with the order, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi has been demolishing third floors under construction in plotted colonies. After Friday’s order such demolitions will stop and owners of properties that already have three floors can regularise it for a charge.

Last May’s Supreme Court order contradicted provisions in Master Plan-2021 for Delhi, passed by the Union Urban Development Ministry in February that year.

The Master Plan allowed buildings in plotted colonies to rise up to a maximum 15m, or ground plus three floors. The Supreme Court in May last year stayed the provision on third floors.

Friday’s order comes with a condition property owners will give an undertaking they will abide by the court’s final decision in July on the validity of Master Plan–2021. The court also ordered that under no circumstance the number of dwellings units in such plotted house should exceed the prescribed number and buildings with three floors will have to conform to the height and FAR, or floor area ratio, specified in the Master Plan.

Following Friday’s order, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the Delhi Development Authority started the process of sanctioning building plans seeking permission for an additional third floor. The two agencies had stopped sanctioning such plans after May 2007. “We will start the process of issuing building plans for third-floor constructions that were stayed last year. It will take some time,” said Subhash Arya, Leader of the MCD House.

A DDA official said, “Over 30,000 properties in our development area will get relief following today’s order,” a civic official said.