A group of nearly 120 professionals comprising urban planner and architects have written to Chief Minister Eknath Shinde seeking an immediate revision to the new building designs of the BDD Chawl redevelopment project undertaken by Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA).
Head of urban planning in the Government of Maharashtra's Mumbai Transformation Support Unit, Sulakshana Mahajan who raised objection, told the media on Thursday that MHADA's designed buildings for BDD redevelopment are only made to extract profits, while the health aspect has been completely neglected.
“The 32 upcoming rehab buildings of 40 stories each have no proper ventilation and light. Moreover, these buildings will be overshadowed by the adjacent sale component towers which are 65 storied, with an additional 10 floors of parking space (75 floors in total) and hence there will be no light or ventilation,” Mahajan said, adding that this will lead to health problems for residents, especially those residing on lower floors.
Mahajan alleged that these designs breach guidelines of the National Building Code which state a distance / gap needs to be maintained between two buildings, based on their height.
The urban planners have cited past examples such as the PMG Colony which has a density of 635 per hectare with a tuberculosis (TB) rate of 1.1 per cent as per the 2015 doctors for the study of project affected people schemes.
Similarly, at Lallubhai Compoud, the density is 850 per hectare with an incidence of TB at 8.1 per cent, while the NP Compound which has a density is 1,313 recorded 10 per cent cases.
The concerns were raised taking into account the high TB rates in the three Mankhurd projects where most households have at least one TB patient and high population density at BDD poses increased risk.
Shirish B Patel, one of the three authors of the idea of New Bombay and the first director of planning & works at CIDCO said, “In these MHADA-designed new buildings, three generations of children's health will be damaged assuming that these buildings will stay for 100 years. For betterment of citizens, the design plan of these buildings needs to be modified immediately. Redevelopment should be for the people and offer a good healthy living. Public land should not be used for making money.”
He added that the professionals have also given an alternate proposal for BDD redevelopment that claims to provide a healthy environment for residents with sufficient light and ventilation. The plan envisages lesser FSI and less density than the existing MHADA plan.
Meanwhile, the residents association of BDD Chawl refuted the claims made by these professionals. Kiran Mane general secretary of Hakk Savrakshan Samiti said, “We are getting good ventilating with enough sunlight entering these new buildings. In fact, 85 rehab buildings were earlier supposed to be of 22 stories each. Now, as we are going higher with building having 40 floors, we are getting more space. These allegations are just to impede the project.”