Experts slam No-Balcony diktat in TOD policy

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 01 Aug 2017 09:44:22


By Manish Soni,

The policy simply ignored the ground reality, the culture, and the living conditions in Nagpur

IT IS the prime responsibility of the decision-makers to frame policies for development of a city and welfare of its citizens. But when the powers-that-be take decisions without taking the ground realities into consideration it leads to a path of potential disaster.
The Transit Oriented Development (TOD) policy for Nagpur is a case in point.

The Urban Development Department of the Maharashtra Government has issued ToD policy as a special regulation for development or redevelopment of buildings failing under Nagpur Metro Rail Corridor (NMRC).

The NMRC is an area falling within 500 meter distance on either side of the Nagpur Metro corridor measured from its centre line and also includes the area falling within
500 meter distance from the longitudinal end of the last metro railway station.

The TOD policy has simply ignored the ground reality, the culture, and the living conditions in Nagpur. It has left the builders, developers, architects, and even local officers in a tizzy. All are trying to interpret it in the right way to attract investment and projected development but the roadblocks remain.

One of the major drawbacks of the TOD policy is denial of projections (balconies) in new constructions or those seeking redevelopment.
Noted architect of the city, Ashok Mokha, has expressed his deep concern over the present form of the TOD. He has suggested immediate changes in certain conditions for overall benefit to the TOD.

“The government did not consider the needs of the Orange City while deciding the TOD. The government has not allowed projections in six meters marginal space. This clause will create box-like structures in the future,” Mokha warned.

Elaborating further, Mokha said, “Human beings cannot live without balcony in a hot city like Nagpur. Space will be required for drying clothes, fresh air and also for keeping coolers. Moreover, the box-type development will spoil childhood of the kids,” he said.

Mokha also spoke about other drawbacks of this rule including higher consumption of energy in the box-type structures. “Balcony is certainly not a luxury in a city like Nagpur. It is a necessity which the planners cannot ignore,” he said.

Under the TOD policy the government will not allow projection in marginal spaces to keep minimum 6 meter marginal space free for movement of fire tenders.
However, projections have also been refused above the height of two floors.

“Six meters marginal space will not leave much space to construct a livable building on a plot,” Mokha said. He also rejected the condition for free movement of the fire tender in the premises and stated that fire tender can be operated from the road too.

“If it is required at all then projection should be allowed above the height of 6 meters of the building. As it is, height of a fire tender is only 5 meters. Why the government is trying to reduce the plot size or room size of the building,” Mokha questioned.

The ToD policy is going to affect 25 per cent area of the city. The whole exercise is for increasing ridership in Nagpur Metro. As per the policy, residential areas in the NMRC will provide the main commuters for Metro rail. People would walk for 5-10 minutes to catch the train, as per the planners’ idea.

However, the policy was framed keeping in view bigger plots like in Pune. Nagpur has small size plots ranging between 1800 sq ft and 10,000 sq ft.