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Is kissing the sky the dream of most Mumbai residents?

Residents in Mumbai don’t seem too keen on staying in high-rise towers. In a space-starved city, the only way to go is upwards, but a number of bottlenecks remain

There are around 102 under-construction projects beyond 30 storeys being developed across India. Among the tall towers, most of them are planned to be between 40-80 storeys. But do Indians actually want to stay in such high places? In Mumbai, development has to take place vertically, but the question remains, are these high-rises safe and acceptable from the infrastructure and maintenance prospective?

Are Indians actually ready to accept the concept of staying on the 80th floor? “We have purchased an apartment on the 50th floor with a renowned developer but we are still contemplating on whether to shift or not. We have been staying in low-rises for the past 20 years in different societies. It becomes difficult to suddenly stay on the 50th floor,” said Amole Parekh, currently a resident of Hiranandani Gardens, Powai (central Mumbai).

“The whole ball game changes when you go above 60 storeys. In India, people are reluctant to stay in a 20-storeyed building, forget 60 storeys. Super high-rise towers will not work in India because the residents feel totally disconnected from the social atmosphere. Across the world, high-rise towers are a mix of both residential, commercial, retail spaces and hotels. Such tall towers have retail right at the base, above that residential, then hotels and right at the top office space. Abroad, developers try to keep residential spaces as low as possible,” said Pranav Desai, architect & partner, Atul Desai Consultants Pvt Ltd.

Most developers are constructing high-rises to attract more attention. In other countries, high-rises have residential blocks at the lower floors, but in India the complete tower is residential. “In Mumbai, it is virtually not possible to utilise the floor space index (FSI) in a low-rise building but a 100-storey tower is not required to consume the (complete) FSI. Currently, FSI of 1 and 1.33 is permitted in the island city and suburban Mumbai respectively by the Urban Development Department (UDD),” said Mr Desai.  

High-rise structures need special amenities like double-glazed windows to minimise the impact of sound and heat, special equipment such as hydro-pneumatic tank systems, building management systems (BMS), water pumps, common lighting and common hot water system to make the project viable for people to live there. In a high-rise, the complete tower will have to be electronically controlled, which should have efficient systems.

The infrastructure cost increases by 15%-20% if such systems are incorporated in the high-rise. The cost of construction of such huge infrastructure, and the high-speed lifts required to be incorporated in such towers are very expensive. For example, to construct a 100-storey building compared to one with 50 storeys, the infrastructure cost increases almost by 50%. 

“I would never like to stay on the 60th floor because there is fear of infrastructure problems in these kinds of buildings. You are not sure when the water or electricity facility will collapse. You even feel disconnected from the social surrounding. In such high floors, the only person you can talk to or ask for help is your immediate neighbour. It is better to stay near the earth than close to the sky,” said Umesh Ray, chief executive officer and joint managing director, SP Telefilms Pvt Ltd.

Interestingly, while Mumbai’s skyline is changing rapidly and buildings of 100 floors and more are being announced every few days, most developers would not help us connect with any customers who have actually booked or purchased an apartment above the 50th floor. Our sources say this is because there are few takers for apartments that kiss the sky.

According to a Mumbai-based developer, various government departments (like the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority, City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra) and the proposed development on National Textile Corporation land, should first take care of the infrastructure required for high-rise towers before these lands are auctioned. “There is an infrastructure problem in India for high-rise towers. Abroad, the infrastructure is first taken care of before auctioning the land for high-rise development. But in India it operates in just the opposite manner. The government first auctions the property without taking care of the infrastructure available like sewage, water, drainage, electricity and road facilities in these plots. The authorities expect the developer to bring in all the facilities which is very unique,” said JS Augustine, associate director, Everest Developers.

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COMMENTS

TAK Mathews

6 years ago

The grossly under elevatored buildings with average waiting times measurable in minutes will ensure that many of these high rise buildings will not get fully occupied.
This should take care off the infrastructure inadequacies.

Nilesh Sharma

6 years ago

The major problem may cause for fire brigade and emergency system. Is that well equipped..??

sunil jetly

6 years ago

It may be true to have more highrise buildings and people opting to stay there in case of the city like Mumbai due want of land but same will never be a preferred way of living in other metros or smaller towns where plenty of land is still available.

AP High Court grants bail to former Satyam MD, others

With this, all Satyam accused except B Ramalinga Raju have got bails from various courts on different occasions

The Andhra Pradesh High Court today granted bail to former Satyam managing director Rama Raju, former chief financial officer Vadlamani Srinivas and three others accused in the multi-crore rupee accounting scam, reports PTI.

Justice Raja Elango of the AP High Court granted bail to Rama Raju, brother of Satyam founder Ramalinga Raju, Srinivas and three others former Satyam employees — G Ramakrishna, Venkatapathi Raju and Ch Srisailam.

With this, all Satyam accused except B Ramalinga Raju have got bails from various courts on different occasions.

Last month, the high court had granted bail to former Pricewaterhouse (PwC) auditor S Gopalakrishnana and former internal auditor Prabhakara Gupta.

In February, the Supreme Court had granted bail to another PwC auditor Srinivas Talluri. A city court, in March last year, granted anticipatory bail to B Suryanarayana Raju, brother of Ramalinga Raju.

In January last year Satyam founder and the then chairman Ramalinga Raju and nine others were arrested after Raju had admitted to fudging the accounting books of the IT company.

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