Chennai: Taking its cue from Ahmedabad , the city corporation plans to soon establish a network of 200 authorised liaison officers to help people get town planning permission for construction.
This non-governmental group will also spy on illegal constructions and advise people on deviations, if any, in building plans, according to sources.
In a related development, Chennai Mayor Saidai Duraisamy is set to inaugurate a building approval plan which will ensure they are dispatched within a week of submission and allow people to track the status of the applications.
In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the Corporation will form a network of 200 authorised liaison officers to help the public avail of town planning permission for building construction.
Besides the regular corporation engineers’ surveillance, this non-governmental group would also spy on illegal constructions and advise people when there was a deviation in building plans at the time of construction. They would pass their field details to Ripon Building.
This system had helped to control unauthorised buildings in Ahmedabad and this network would start its operations in the city shortly, a highly placed source told this newspaper.
Building regularisation schemes and ordinances passed in 1999 and 2007 have allayed any fears that may have held builders back. Constructions with building violations are now rampant.
The new initiative by the Corporation would help to identify the buildings with deviations at a much earlier stage and providing early counselling to building owners would help reduce building violations, said a Corporation engineer.
Meanwhile, in a related development, Chennai Mayor Saidai Duraisamy will inaugurate a building approval plan under the green channel procedure whereby building approval plans will be dispatched within a week’s time and the applicants can also track the status of their application and know the Corporation’s reason for rejecting a plan.
Razing city illegal structures not easy
Chennai corporation officials are finding it difficult to handle the mushrooming illegal buildings in Chennai.
A few field engineers attached to central and south Chennai told this newspaper that political interventions from councillors and MLAs in the city, are disrupting the drive against illegal structures.
“Not all our engineers are corrupt, there are a few who want to take action against illegal structures, but political intervention stops them,” admitted a highly placed official.
Top brass in Ripon Buildings have given instructions to abide by the High Court order and demolish illegal structures, but local politicians flex muscle and go the extra mile to protect illegal structures, the official added.
“Illegal buildings are not new to Chennai and this trend started from Sowcarpet during the early 90s. Now commercial buildings with major deviations are visible across the city,” recalls former chief engineer of Chennai corporation A. Swaminathan.
Political will and periodical checks by field engineers alone can make Chennai breathe easier with planned buildings. Though minor deviations in residential buildings can be regularized, there has to be strict action against illegal buildings constructed for commercial purposes, Swaminathan added.
“Whenever a building violation is noticed, a show cause notice is served under the town planning act, but there is no further action. After several months the building is completed with power supply and drainage connections,” rued A. Solomon, who has filed a PIL against illegal buildings in Chennai.
“Despite several court orders favouring the destruction of illegal buildings and structures, civic authorities are silent over the issue in Injambakkam. The encroachments are supported by local political functionaries; if these are cleared, motorists and residents of at least four residential areas in Injambakkam will benefit and have easy access to the ECR,” said Sainath of Rajan Nagar and Selva Nagar residents welfare association.