CHENNAI: Owners of 852 acres of prime land in the city are unable to utilise the lands since the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority has been delaying reclassification of the lands for nearly four years. These lands near the city’s airport were originally acquired for airport’s expansion in 2007. But the land was not put to use for parallel runway as the Airport Authority of India in 2011 dropped the plan, stating that no significant improvement in aircraft movement would be achieved due to long taxiing time involved.
However, the acquired land was not denotified and one of the land owners sought the Madras High Court’s direction to denotify the land. It was in January 2, 2014, after the order was passed that the land was denotified by a Government Order on January 30, 2014. Interestingly, four years after Madras High Court order, the residents have little to cheer. “The issue is while the acquired land has been denotified, the land use plan map has not been changed. As a result no development can take place,” says EVP Township Plot Owners Association secretary S Somasekaran.
“The map still shows the land as institutional land. We have been urging the CMDA to reclassify the land as primary residential one but it has failed to do so,” says Somasekaran. The denotified land is located at Manapakkam, Gerugambakkam, Kolapakkam, Tharapakkam and Kovur villages in Sriperumbudur taluk of Kancheepuram district. Sources said appropriate land use has to be assigned taking into consideration planning permissions, approved layouts, reclassifications and ground conditions etc.
It is learnt that two years ago, a comprehensive reclassification proposal was prepared and placed before technical committee on January 19, 2016 which recommended that lands falling under layouts should be assigned primary residential use zone. It also sought details of maximum flood level with regard to 2015 floods from the Public Works Department for zoning of flood prone areas.But since then, nothing has moved except another meeting in April 2018. It also failed to arrive at a decision. The blame lies in the Master Plan department, which has failed to perform its statutory duties of reviewing Master Plan every five years and holding committee meetings regularly.
A total of 500 land use plans have been reclassified but Master Plan has not been updated. Somasekaran says that with no other alternative left, his association has filed a contempt of court petition in High Court.
When contacted by Express, a CMDA official said delay in reclassification of the land was caused by questions if the land is flood-prone.