The public service norms for high-rise buildings are set to be eased.
The environment ministry would soon be issuing new guidelines allowing high-rise buildings even on smaller roads provided they have the infrastructure to meet any calamity.
The ministry in 2012 had issued guidelines to allow high-rise buildings, more than 15 meters, across India. It had linked height of the building with the width of approach road and its distance from the nearest fire station. The guidelines had also asked the project proponents to seek the approval of the local disaster management authorities in this regard.
The stringent norms had resulted in adverse reaction from state governments, which said it would hamper growth of reality sector and would prevent them from building homes for the poor.
Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan last week raised the issue at the annual plan meeting with Planning Commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia, who assured all possible help. Chavan was of the view that the guidelines impinges on the right of the state governments to develop urban infrastructure.
Ahluwalia has, in fact, raised the issue with plan panel member K Kasturirangan, who had been asked by the environment ministry to review its guidelines. Ahluwalia is of the view that the guidelines are not realistic especially for older cities such as Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai, where road width is less.
As many as 47 construction projects in Mumbai, another 100 in Kerala and about 50 in Chennai are stuck because of the guidelines. In fact, the Kerala government changed the definition of the high-rise to get around the guidelines. Other states have, however, urged the Central government to amend the rules.
Kasturirangan panel submitted its report this month recommending major changes in the guidelines. "The recommendations are under consideration…the issues raised by the state governments would be resolved soon," an environment ministry functionary said.
Ministry sources, however, said that the panel wants linkage between the width of the road with building height to be removed and have suggested an approach that takes into account the difficulties being faced by the state governments. "New rules would be easier to implement," an official said.