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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Work on India’s tallest towers faces roadblock

TIMES NEWS NETWORK , Mumbai: India’s tallest buildings, currently under construction with apartments already going for Rs 45 crore each, are being built on land clearly shown in the Development Plan (DP) as intended for a public road, a legal notice sent to the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) has alleged.
While the plush Tardeo twin towers will have access to a public road, buildings coming up on the site to rehabilitate slumdwellers will have none, the notice says
The rehabilitation scheme at Tardeo’s MP mill compound is being carried out by S D Corporation, a joint venture between construction firm Shapoorji Pallonji and builder Dilip Thakker. The layout where the construction is taking place is on land which was primarily reserved for the prime minister’s Grant Project for slumdwellers and for police housing. The developer has to rehabilitate 2,500 slum families in new buildings on the site and also reserve a portion for police housing.
Activist Simpreet Singh of the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) used the Right To Information Act to get a copy of the DP, which shows a public road has been proposed to pass through the layout. Answering another RTI application filed by him, the BMC’s chief engineer (development plan) confirmed that there had been no modification in reservation made for the road. “As such, the construction coming up on the said land is completely illegal as it overwhelms and infringes on the whole length of public road,’’ the legal notice filed by former IPS officer-turnedlawyer Y P Singh on NAPM’s behalf, said.
Rohit Sinha, manager, Shapoorji Pallonji, did not respond to TOI’s questions.
The notice alleges that the police commissioner’s no-objection certificate (NOC) was not taken and that the plot for the slumdwellers’ rehabilitation had been overloaded with FSI, leaving little open space. The sale buildings are almost ready wheareas construction work is yet to begin on many of the rehabilitation buildings, in violation of SRA rules, the notice alleged.
The project earlier ran into controversy in 2002 when residents of Carmichael Road and Tardeo took the developer to court, saying that Tardeo Hill was illegally excavated, endangering residents’ lives. The developers contended that they had adequately safeguarded the hill.
SRA CEO Debashish Chakrabarty did not answer his phone through Tuesday evening. “We have asked the SRA to issue a stop-work notice immediately so that we are not required to go to court,’’ Singh said.
Publication: Times Of India Mumbai; Date:2007 Feb 21; Section:Times City; Page Number 7

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