The new Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) guidelines may prove to be a dampener for Kerala’s construction industry. As per these guidelines, buildings that are more than five storeys or 15-metre high should have wide roads around them. These guidelines are applicable to Kerala, Maharashtra and Haryana. These three states had approached the ministry for approval to increase the height limit for buildings.
As per the guidelines, a 5-storey or 15-metre high residential or industrial building should have a 15-metre wide road surrounding it. Higher the building, wider the roads! For instance, a 15-storey building should ideally have a 24-metre road around it.
“Considering Kerala’s exploding population, if construction and road widening are carried out as per these guidelines, the price of land will shoot up to astronomical levels. Then hypothetically, open spaces and paddy fields will be eaten up by construction works.
As far as Kerala’s infrastructural development is concerned, only vertical growth is possible,” said Antony Kunnel, president, CREDAI (Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India) Kerala.
The draft also proposes carrying out mock fire drills on an annual basis on all high-rise buildings in the state. “This is a welcome decision, and it should be followed. It will definitely reduce casualties due to fire accidents,” said Kunnel.
The draft suggestion to have a fire station within 10km radius of buildings with more than 10-storeys has also been received well.
On March 28, chief minister Oommen Chandy will take up the issue with the concerned representatives. “We will look into it after an official meeting with builders and concerned stake holders in the coming weeks. These are only guidelines and can most definitely be worked on in order to arrive at a consensus,” Oommen Chandy’s office told Times of India.