The High-rise Committee’s approval for 78 skyscrapers (higher than 70 metres) in the near future, along with the support of the BMC commissioner, is set to change Mumbai’s skyline in the near future.
Civic chief Sitaram Kunte and chief of the High-rise Committee, justice (retd) Shafi Parkar, both advocated the need for towers citing space crunch in Mumbai.
Participating in a seminar called ‘Rising skyline of Mumbai’ hosted by the practising engineers, architects and town planners association (PEATA) on Saturday, Kunte quoted an article in a reputed economics periodical, saying that Mumbai has only 30 buildings which are at a height of 100 metres or more, whereas Shanghai has 200 and New York has close to 500.
The present committee, appointed last year, has approved 38 new proposals of high-rises and 40 proposals which were pending with the last committee, said the civic chief. In his address, justice (retd) Parkar said tall buildings were a necessary alternative for the rising population of Mumbai. He stressed that enough space around the buildings was required for the high-rises.
Even as the limited space available makes it imperative to have high-rises, Kunte said, a suggestion by the Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI) to allow high-rises on small plots was not acceptable. He said the State government’s approval to recommendations by the BMC on proposals for tall buildings — up to 120 metres — should not require the High-rise Committee approval and proposals for structures between 120 to 200 metres must be scrutinised by reputed institutions such as VJTI and IIT. Structures higher than 200 metres height must have structural consultants of international repute.
Kunte assured the PEATA members and developers that the civic body will not go ahead on proposals without prior consultation. He also informed them that till May 31 this year, 326 proposals on high-rises were received by the High-rise committee, out of which 322 were cleared and 104 were pending. Sixty two are pending for submission of required documents.
In his welcome speech, PEATA chairman Pravin Kanekar said the city skyline was changing fast with diminishing textile mills and old chawls which used to be part of its identity. High-rises are a necessity and proposals for them should be cleared on priority, he said.
Making a presentation, Sunil Nesarikar, deputy chief fire officer of the BMC, said that soon, a 90 metre-high ladder will be procured to meet the requirements for fighting fires in Mumbai. Currently, the tallest ladder is 68 metres high and the tallest ladder available in the world is 120 metres high. The seminar was coordinated by architect Shirish Sukhatme and convened by Dr H M Raje and Ajit Khatri.