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Building projects in Navi Mumbai hit a height restriction

About 150 approved building projects in Navi Mumbai around a 20-km radius from the upcoming airport are in alimbo as the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has restricted their heights to just 55 metres (12-15 floors).

About 150 approved building projects in Navi Mumbai around a 20-km radius from the upcoming airport are in alimbo as the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has restricted their heights to just 55 metres (12-15 floors).

“NOCs were issued to more than 1,500 projects within the 20-km radius from January 2021 till date. All these projects have received height approvals of less than 55 m. Even if we assume that 10% of these projects need higher heights, we can safely assume that more than 150 projects are affected,” said Kunal Chheda, partner at Awas Advisors, a real estate research and advisory firm.

In Navi Mumbai, Cidco used to issue height certificates to developers till about a year ago. Later, the airport was handed over to the Adani Group and AAI took away the powers from Cidco for issuing the certificates and stopped the process. After a few months, they started issuing certificates but with a 55. 1 m maximum cap.

“We have been following up with Cidco and AAI for the last many months, but both keep blaming each other. To be fair to Cidco, they have continuously engaged with AAI to allow them to restart the process or at leastincrease the maximum height permissible to buildings located beyond the critical area of the airport. However, there is no response by AAI,” said builder Rajesh Prajapati and representative of Credai-Mchi.

“Dozens of tender plots in Navi Mumbai received huge response from developers in the last 8-10 months. However, due to this uncertainty, they are unable to finalise their projects and submit build proposals for approval. After paying huge sums of money on seemingly clear plots such situations only dampen the market sentiments,’’ said Prajapati.

“Height restriction of 55 m has affected projects from Nerul to Panvel although the floor space index (FSI) allowed is much higher. These projects are not viable with such contradictions inpolicies. Even projects in the Koparkhairane-Airoli nodes which are not under the airport funnel have been affected,” said developer Manohar Shroff.

“Earlier CIDCO had sanctioned 18 floors, but the occupation certificate was issued only for 14 floors in a few projects. This is not ethical,” he said.JT Radhakrishnan, AAI’s regional executive director (western region), was not available for comment.

Developer Abhishek Sharma said five of his projects are stalled because of the height restrictions.

“The radar positioning of the airport has not been fixed. The blanket restriction has hit areas which were earlier not affected,’’ he said.

Sharma said that in 2019, Cidco had cleared many projects with heights of up to 120-130 metres (about 40 storeys)in Taloja, Sanpada and Vashi. But with the AAI’s new restriction of up to 55 m, builders can only construct 14-16 floors.

Navi Mumbai builder Hitesh Jain said the online NOC system and the colour code zoning map (based on which building height permissions were given depending on the distance from the airport) has been withdrawn. “Now every plot owner, even those who want to build a bungalow, need to apply for an NOC,” he said.

Industry sources said several buildings are already completed with the earlier height clearances. But now, the AAI insists that new clearances be taken only up to 55 m. “If the project is built up to say 70 m then the upper floors suddenly become unauthorized and Cidco does not give the occupation certificate,” said an industry source.


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