The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority is planning to send a proposal to the State Government to amend Section 113-C of the Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act, 1971, in order to delegate powers to all local bodies within Chennai Metropolitan Area to process applications on regularisation of ordinary buildings.
As per Section 113-C, even ordinary buildings in town and village panchayats were to be processed by CMDA, which was earlier concerned only with regulating special buildings, multi-storied buildings, major institutions and industries. Interestingly, the proposal came in the wake of a High Court-appointed monitoring committee asking for clarity on Section 113-C in addition to seeking judicial sanction before exempting buildings developed on or before July 1, 2007. “How can they proceed for amending the section, when they don’t have judicial sanction for the act itself?” wondered monitoring committee member M G Deivasahayam.
The other major hurdle for the CMDA in enforcing section 113-C was lack of personnel. It is believed that currently the regularisation unit operated with skeletal staff looking after the 1999 regularisation scheme, which would not be enough to process about 20,000 pending applications. Among these applications, 15,000 were for residential buildings for which the monitoring committee had suggested less stringent measures, according to sources. These 15,000 applications would be considered only after the Advocate General gave his opinion and was approved by the Government. In addition to this, the unit also had to scrutinise 5,000 commercial applications.
Sources also said that the CMDA would face a big challenge on which Master Plan to follow while regularising buildings. The First Master Plan had lapsed and the Second Master Plan was currently being enforced. So, the regularisation unit had to go through both the Master Plans before clearing an application. Sources added that if the land usage did not satisfy the land use prevailing on July 1, 2007, but satisfied present land use under Second Master Plan, the same might be considered provided it satisfied current car parking requirements.