City reports to Bombay High Court that Worli tower’s refuge area is 74 per cent of its total built-up, and should be cut to about 25 per cent.
The country’s tallest residential complex Palais Royale, which allowed itself a refuge area almost three-fourths of its tremendous 5.5 lakh square metre area in Worli, will have to bring it down to about a quarter of the built-up by sealing the four refuge floors as well as the refuge pockets on every storey.
The city administration has said as much in its report on the 56-strorey tower, submitted to the high court last week, thus puncturing any plans its developer Shree Ram Urban Infrastructure Ltd might have had to exploit these spaces for alternative use later.
“A whopping 74 per cent of the total constructed area was marked as refuge area. We have cut it to roughly 25 per cent now,” a city official said, citing the findings of the report.
The refuge floors set to be boarded up and rendered unusable are 23, 32, 42, and 52. An area of refuge is a location in a building designed to hold occupants during a fire or other emergency, when evacuation may not be safe or possible.
A senior civic functionary told this paper that a probe would be launched against officials from the building proposal department and the fire brigade who approved the refuge plan. “These refuge areas were clearly made for being misused later,” the official said, adding that huge planters and flowerbeds, which like the refuge area are not counted in the project’s allotted floor-space index (FSI), are also part of the building. “The report states they will also have to be punctured,” he said.
Shree Ram Urban Infrastructure did not respond to a detailed email query from this newspaper.
The city authority’s findings follow a January order by the Bombay High Court, which had overturned then civic commissioner Sitaram Kunte’s directive restricting the refuge area to four per cent of the plush premises.
But the official quoted above told Mirror: “Four per cent would be too restrictive, taking into account the size of the building and the number of residents. We have only suggested that excessive refuge area that would have been misused be punctured or sealed.”
In July, this paper had reported how BMC boss Ajoy Mehta called for a review of the highrise’s permissible refuge area after visiting it. His visit came at a time when the tower was already tied up in litigation: NGO Janhit Manch had filed a PIL in the high court in 2013 alleging that the developer had violated FSI norms by building 13 additional floors and a public parking lot without permission.
After the PIL, the BMC had issued stop-work notice to the developer and said the construction of the public parking lot was illegal. But the developer moved the sessions court against the notice, and got ‘deemed permission’ to construct the lot as well as the additional floors.
Wallsnroof Comments: – The repreivement of refuge area is same across Mumbai and Thane.If you look at the recent construction like RUSTOMJEE URBANIA at Ghodbunder Road Thane DEDHIA EL CANTO at Ghodbunder Road Thane they have given proper allotment of refuge area. Refuge area is mandatory safety by grouting unofficial rights to residences. This trend has frantically controlled in recent construction. If you look at any of the recent projects like Sheth Avalon Laxmi Nagar Thane west, or Lodha Splendora in Thane West, the refuge area is specifically meets the requirements as per fire safety regulation.