CHENNAI: Can Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) officials be promoted under the draft service rules that are yet to be approved by the government?
The move by CMDA has been opposed by planners who claim it to be a violation of Madras High Court order in 2007, which said the 1980 service rules should be followed till the new rules are approved.
Association of Professional Town Planners (APTP) president K M Sadanand said the move to promote officials by relaxing the norms during the recent authority meeting again raised questions on its legality when the High Court and even the State government had asked the CMDA to follow the 1980 service rules.
This comes after service rules were relaxed during the authority meeting to promote an assistant planner as deputy planner, after he was initially denied the promotion citing the Madras High Court order.
“The CMDA in 2007 had stated that the planner was not eligible for promotion as deputy planner from assistant planner as per the approved service rules as he did not possess the qualification,” said Sadanand.
He also said that as per the approved service rules, a 3:1 ratio has been fixed for appointment of deputy planners, that is three planners to be recruited in-house and one should be kept aside for direct recruitment. However, the CMDA is not following this rule and has never gone in for direct recruitment for the post of deputy planner, he said. Interestingly, a case is pending in Madras High Court since 2011 regarding the failure of the CMDA to go in for direct recruitment.
However, this time the service rules were relaxed during the authority meeting and many were given promotion. This brings to light on what criterion the CMDA relaxed norms to promote officials, he said.
Interestingly, the State government for the first time is creating a common cadre of qualified town planners at the State-level with separate service regulations to ensure sustainable urban development.
Tamil Nadu, which is one of the most urbanised states in the country, has been functioning without proper service rules and qualified planners. As a result, responsibility and accountability could not be fixed for planning lapses.
“Why don’t they bring in the new regulations instead of courting controversies over the promotions by relaxing it for those whom they favour and denying the same to others,” Sadanand wondered.
It is learnt that as much as 40 service cases pertaining to the CMDA are pending before the Madras High Court .
Failure to notify regulations creating confusion
It was in 1992 that the CMDA amended the service rules, which govern the recruitment and service of the staff for the city’s prime urban planning agency. But failure to notify the rules has led to occasional bending of rules and also confusion in service rules