The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) proposes to deregulate height restrictions for buildings in the Capital. It seems to have concluded that the city cannot grow horizontally, hemmed in as it is by National Capital Region townships. The only way for it to grow is upwards.
Delhi's vertical growth is likely to be confirmed in the Draft Master Plan for Delhi (MPD) 2021, to be notified early next year.
The DDA has proposed removing height restrictions of buildings in residential plots of group housing societies, district centres, hotels and hospitals -- subject to clearances from the Delhi Urban Arts Commission, Airports Authority of India, Archaeological Survey of India and Delhi Fire Service.
The proposal was finalised after going through the 7,000-odd objections and suggestions it received to the MPD 2021. Under the proposal the floor area ratio (FAR) for the four categories of buildings will remain unchanged.
Before the proposal becomes the rule, the DDA will have to approve the MPD 2021 with these changes at its board meeting in December. It will then be sent to the Urban Development Ministry for approval. If the ministry approves, the DDA plans to notify the changes by January 2007.
DDA vice-chairman Dinesh Rai told Hindustan Times: "We have written to the Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee that the DDA will notify MPD 2021 by the end of January."
If approved, the new rules will allow developers to build highrises. In the original MPD 2021, the DDA had set a height restriction of 33 metres (approximately 11 storeys) for residential plots in group housing societies having a maximum FAR of 167. The maximum height allowed for a hospital with 500 beds and more was fixed at 37 meters.
Some urban experts, however, do not think the proposal will do any good. K.T. Ravindran, urban planner and dean, School of Planning and Architecture, said, "It is nothing more than pandering to the developers' lobby. Unrestricted height is not sustainable. High rises will mean more energy consumption."
But former DDA planning commissioner E.F.N. Rebeiro said having high rises was not a problem as long as the FAR remained unchanged. Delhi's chief fire officer, R.C. Sharma said high rises would not be a problem if they had in-built fire-safety mechanisms in place.
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