Approval likely for pre-2011 wetland turned layouts - The New Indian Express

Approval likely for pre-2011 wetland turned layouts

Published: 09th November 2013 07:31 AM

Last Updated: 09th November 2013 07:31 AM

The wetlands in the State that were converted into layouts prior to January 2011 are likely to get the stamp of approval, according to sources in the Directorate of Town and Country Planning. This, after the State government introduced Section 47 A in the Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act, 1971, to regulate development in non-planning areas, to conserve wetlands in the State and also to regulate conversion of wetlands for other purposes.

Since the amendment came into force on January 1, 2011, officials felt that the unapproved layouts that came into being prior to 2011, had chances of getting approval.

Sources also added that if the unapproved layout had been formed after January 1, 2011 without following the procedures laid down in Section 47 A, then the NOCs prescribed under Section 47 A shall be insisted upon.

The proposal is before the government, sources added. However, this has come under strong opposition from civil society. M G Deivasahayam, managing trustee of the Chennai-based Citizens Alliance for Sustainable Living (SUSTAIN), said this would set an example that those who flout the law could go unscathed.

Urging the government to think twice, he said if the unapproved layouts on wetlands got approval, it could mean that the planning of various bodies had been flawed and town planning officials had failed to maintain any checks on such layouts.

As per figures available with ‘Express’, the city had 29 major water bodies initially, having a total area of 98,78,277 square metres. However, they have been reduced almost by half to 50,42,082 square metres, reducing the storage capacity to only 20 per cent, due to encroachment.

The town planning is totally flawed and the land use plan in Master Plan is often being tinkered by officials, Deivasahayam says.

The Second Master Plan is for 2026, but officials had already been tinkering with the land use plan, he added.

The government is taking efforts to study the conservation programme for wetlands, which include studying the hydrological and socio-economic characterisation of wet lands in Chennai Metropolitan Area, analysing the wetland complexes of CMA, prioritising wetlands for their ecosystem services, besides recommending site specific protection and conservation development of comprehensive management plans.

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