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April 27, 2018
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New aviation ministry rules may allow taller buildingsBuilders in city, Kandivali, Borivali, Dahisar might be allowed to increase height to 300 metres

A change in building height restrictions proposed by the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation does not offer any benefit for residents of the western and some eastern suburbs seeking permission to construct taller buildings, but builders in the island city and areas like Kandivali, Borivali and Dahisar would now be allowed to increase building height from 150 metres to 300 metres.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation issued a gazette notification on Friday proposing a draft to amend the Height Restrictions for Safeguarding Aircraft Operations Rules, 2015, and called for suggestions and objections from stakeholders within the next 30 days. Residents of Andheri, Juhu, Vile Parle, Kurla, parts of Bandra and Ghatkopar have for long sought permissions to either redevelop old buildings and add floors, or have already violated existing height restrictions.

One of the important amendments proposed is relaxing the restriction on height of structures located in the conical surface of Indian airports — a demarcation that exists primarily to prevent existing or proposed man-made objects, objects of natural growth or terrain from extending upward into navigable airspace — from the existing 150 metres to 300 metres above aerodrome elevation. The conical surface around an airport ranges from four to 16 km of the airport.

HC relief

According to the law, based on international norms, height norms have to be implemented in areas within a 20-km radius around the airport and builders need a no objection certificate from authorities. On April 6, the Bombay High Court lifted a two-year embargo on aviation authorities deciding on applications to relax height restrictions of buildings in the vicinity of the airport. This will benefit those who want to build beyond the prescribed height in the restricted area around the airport and residents of old buildings seeking relief.

An appellate committee for height clearances in the Ministry of Civil Aviation will decide on applications for any construction beyond the prescribed height. The committee might relax these restrictions after taking into consideration various factors, including the shield effect. If a permanent structure is taller than a proposed building coming up behind it, builders of the latter can apply for permissions to construct up to that height.

Advocate Yeshwant Shenoy, whose PIL in the HC was disposed of in April, said, “A study of the draft rules suggests that there could be more obstacles now. This is because, the radar beam will now also have to be considered. Earlier, even if a part of the signals of the beam went beyond a tall structure, it was allowed. That will not be the case any more.” Mr. Shenoy, who has filed a separate PIL in the Delhi High Court, said he will send suggestions on and objections to the proposed amendments.