Monday, July 31, 2017

BMC awaits central nod for aeronautical survey

Mumbai: The BMC wants to carry out an aeronautical survey of the city's airspace to get clarity on the maximum height buildings can have in various parts of the city so that they may not be hindrances in flight paths during emergencies. The proposal for the survey has been pending with the central government for a year.
Building heights became a controversial issue recently after the civil aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), ordered about 70 buildings in Vile Parle, Santacruz and Ghatkopar to reduce their height within 60 days. Some of these buildings are over 50 years old, and are now being considered as flight path obstacles.
The BMC told the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the state government about the survey in a meeting held last August, stating that the civic body will bear the project cost of around Rs 300 crore.
The BMC said that the study will help bring transparency and speed up the building construction permission process.
The AAI has colour-coded zone mapping for the city, which indicates the approximate heights buildings can go up to without AAI approval. If a developer wants to go beyond that limit, he needs a noobjection certificate (NOC) from the AAI. There is no standard format in the public domain, and AAI experts study individual proposals before issuing an NOC.
"The fact is," said a senior BMC engineer, "that most of the buildings go beyond the height mentioned in the AAI's colourcoded map".
The BMC says it cannot directly appoint an international consultant, and must depend on the state government to pursue the matter of the survey with the central government. An official said the MMRDA has already received permission to conduct an aeronautical survey for two specific areas in the city—BKC and Wadala— where the MMRDA is the planning authority. The aim is to utilize the maximum height available in those areas for upcoming buildings, of course, also adhering with Development Plan specifications.
31/07/17 Vijay V Singh/Times of India