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Nod for High-rises on Dasaprakash Hotel Site

High Court quashes order of traffic police refusing NOC; permits construction of 3 blocks of 18-storey buildings each at the site on Poonamallee High Road

Published: 02nd December 2014 06:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd December 2014 06:06 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: Quashing an order of traffic police refusing no objection certificate (NOC), Madras High Court showed the green signal for construction of three blocks of 18-storey buildings each at the site where the erstwhile Dasaprakash hotel stood on Poonamallee High Road.

As of today, there are no guidelines either in the Town and Country Planning Act or in the Development Control Rules or the Development Regulations as to how far traffic flow would impact development.

In the absence of the guidelines, it is not proper to leave it to the discretion of the traffic police to switch on and off the signal lights on projects for development. The conferment of such an unguided power upon a single member (Traffic CoP) of a multi-member panel will infringe upon the valuable Constitutional right to property without there being a sanction of law for the exercise of such power.

Therefore, the impugned order is liable to be set aside and the petitioner is entitled to the relief prayed for, Justice V Ramasubramanian said in his order on November 25.

The judge was allowing a writ petition from Prince Foundation Limited, by its MD Ashwin Kumar K Kamdar, seeking to quash an order dated July 24 this year of the Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic-North), refusing NOC for the project. The rejection was on the ground that vehicle flow on Poonamallee High Road had already exceeded the Indian Road Congress norms during morning and evening peak hours and that the additional vehicle volume to be generated by this project would impede the movement of traffic.

The judge said that if the Additional CoP (Tr) has had any objection to the grant of approval, the same could have been put forth in the meeting of the Panel. If the Panel had agreed with his objections, it could have rejected the application. It was also possible for the Panel to overrule the objections in total or accept it to a limited extent and incorporate some conditions that will take care of the objections. But, now, all these possibilities are gone, with the Panel subordinating its own role to the role of one of its members and that too, after the completion of the proceedings in the meeting of the Panel. “This, in my considered view, is not authorised either by the Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act or by the Development Control Rules, 2004 or by the Development Regulations, 2008. Hence, the petitioner is entitled to succeed,’’ the judge said.

“There are also two more issues. The petitioner has already obtained permission for the construction of 101 dwelling units. If the construction of 54 more units alone is the cause for concern, I do not know whether any development in the entire stretch of the road is going to be prohibited on this ground. Moreover, the impugned order proceeds on the basis that the addition of 54 more dwelling units will increase the traffic flow during peak hours, by 31 cars and 132 motor cycles.

But, it does not take into account the possible reduction of traffic flow after the Chennai Metro Rail comes into operation fully and finally, the judge said.

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