Govt. keeps changing policy on height restrictions at Banjara Hills, Jubilee Hills

The government’s flip-flop on maintaining special regulations on building height restrictions at Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills continues. A year-and-a-half after withdrawing permission for allowing buildings to be constructed up to 15 metres or up to five floors, official orders have been issued permitting it specifically to Prashasan Nagar.

The government, while releasing the common building rules in 2008, had exempted these hilly areas from these rules under the guise of special regulations restricting the height to 10 metres or ground plus two floors as they fall under the “sensitive seismic zone”. Later, orders were issued allowing buildings to be constructed for up to 15 metres height on roads that are 40-ft wide and in the interregnum, restrictions were being removed on a case-by-case basis on the government discretion.

Height restrictions were also removed to encourage property owners to voluntarily hand over portions of their lands to facilitate widening of Roads 1, 2, 10, 11 & 12 in Banjara Hills and Road No.36 of Jubilee Hills too by the municipal corporation.

Permissions were also given to a few star hotels on roads declared commercial for applications made for a period of six months, senior officials have revealed.

Coming to Prashasan Nagar, the abode of IAS and IPS officers on plots allotted by the government on subsidised rates in the early 90s, for a while height restrictions were relaxed before being imposed again following reports of ground plus four floors constructions being illegally converted into apartments.

It is common knowledge that unauthorised constructions and illegal conversion of residential buildings into commercial are rampant with top officials crossing swords among themselves over such constructions.

In fact, a GHMC report had indicated that in at least 30 plots buildings were being used for non-residential activities like functioning of IT firms, guest houses and corporate offices sans any official permit. Twenty-two buildings had additional floors built against norms.

Latest orders allow buildings up to five floors in the colony following representations made by retired IAS officer B. Danam, serving IPS officer D. Bhoopathi Babu and also by the GHMC Commissioner but disallow apartments or group housing.

Interestingly, the government and GHMC had in recent times began to permit apartments to be officially constructed in Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills since they were unable to prevent bigger buildings from being converted into apartments.

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