CHENNAI: If you browse the CMDA land map you will find St Thomas Mount, Kottivakkam and Sholinganallur still coming under panchayat union. Fret not, for the CMDA is yet to update the land use map, even seven years after the Greater Chennai Corporation expanded its limits to 426 square km.
“The process got delayed... But we are currently updating it and it will be ready in a month,” a CMDA official told Express.
“The content is more or less the same. We only have to update names. Till now people have not raised an issue,” the official added. Experts, however, have been questioning the delay.
“If CMDA is not even able to update the land use map of the second master plan, how will it update the land use plan when Chennai Metropolitan Area is extended to 8,879 square km,” asks former Anna University professor of urban engineering KP Subramanian. He says updating the map is not a difficult task as CMDA has the required technology.
“The problem is that CMDA planners are more focused on setbacks and enforcements, not on planning. They should focus more on planning and infrastructure development,” says Subramanian. “Planning permissions that have been granted could face legal challenges if the land use plans and maps are not updated.”
The anomalies in the second master plan — wherein low-lying areas have been classified as private water bodies — have been discussed at the “highest levels” of State administration, which indicates that the master plan division failed to check whether the water bodies are there at the site or not. They just used remote sensing data, and failed to clarify with the Village Administration Officer.
But the CMDA official defended the second master plan land use map. “Once the satellite imagery shows the area has water, we monitor it through the satellite and after it is ascertained, we mark it as water body. Then we call for objections and suggestions. The owners have to raise objections. If he delays it, then the entire process of reclassification undergoes a huge process,” he added.