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BMC to defend rooftop policy in affidavit in Bombay HC

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BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will soon file an affidavit in the high court, strongly defending its rooftop restaurants policy on legal and operational issues. The civic body ruled out a roll back, indicating that there was scope for amendment.

BMC’s move comes close on the heels of certain observations made by the high court hearing a petition in this regard. The High Court cited loopholes in the policy and asked the BMC to explain what was the idea behind it.

A BMC officer, who was closely involved in the formulation of the policy released in November last year, told DNA, “As far as legal issues are concerned, BMC will argue that rooftop restaurants are allowed as per Development Control (DC) rules, which are framed under the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning (MRTP) Act, 1966. The operational issues are pertaining to functioning of such restaurants that will not be allowed cooking or having kitchen or using inflammable items like liquefied petroleum gas cylinders.”

He said the civic body will give approval to the owner, occupier or the tenant, who enjoys actual rights of use of premises with certain riders with regard to strict adherence to safety norms, including additional staircases.

The officer said that rooftop restaurants can operate only on terraces of commercial buildings, malls, residential hotels and lodges, but they are not allowed in residential areas.

Former advisor and director to the Maharashtra government, MV Deshmukh, said that rooftops are like any other assembly places where occupancy load allowed is 0.6 sq meter per person as per the National Building Code (NBC). “However, this necessitates the provision of additional lifts and staircases as an exclusive means of escape. The rooftop places should not be covered with any temporary or allied structures to avoid risk of spread of fire,” he noted.

Deshmukh said that if kitchens are provided to rooftop restaurants or cafes, they will have to strictly follow the fire safety norms prescribed in the NBC and the standards laid down by the National Fire Protection Association, USA.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

A BMC officer said that rooftop restaurants can operate only on terraces of commercial buildings, malls, residential hotels and lodges, but they are not allowed in residential areas

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