The future of new high-rises in the country will now hinge on how wide the access road is and how far the fire station is.
In a move that will have a bearing on the ever-expanding urban sprawl, the environment ministry has made the approval of disaster management authority a must for a building with more than four floors.Wide roads and proximity to fire stations — a necessity for movement of rescue workers and equipment during a natural disaster or an accident — are now a must for multi-storey structures. "Only if the proposed buildings meet the conditions would they be considered for environment clearance," a ministry official said.
The ministry has also prescribed the minimum width for access roads for getting the environment clearance.
The aim is to meet challenges of disaster management and traffic congestion.
The norms, however, could end up restricting vertical growth where the road is not wide enough.
A building of up to 30 metres, or four storeys, will be allowed only if the access road is 15-18m wide. For a structure higher than 60m, the road has to be at least 30m wide.
For a 45m tall building, the fire station shouldn't be more than 10km away. For those above 60m, the distance is 2km.
A DLF spokesperson said they would abide by the new conditions. Sources in the sector said the condition could push up project costs.
The ministry's expert appraisal committee (EAC) came up with the stipulations while discussing real estate projects in Haryana and Kerala last year. It submitted a set of fresh norms that were recently accepted by the ministry.
The clearance from disaster management authority has to come at two levels — before the work begins and at the time of occupancy.
The decision is mandatory for the states as well as it has been issued under the Environment Protection Act.
Environment clearance —either from the state government or the Centre — is mandatory for big real estate projects. The nod for projects worth less that R50crore is given by states. The Centre clears ventures worth more than Rs 50 crore.