CHENNAI: Bludgeoned with complaints of illegal layouts mushrooming across the city and its suburbs, the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) pulled up its socks and has despatched a review team to monitor files in local bodies.
The team recently visited Kundrathur panchayat office in Padapai and met Block Development Officer Michael Francis and queried about some files, sources in the panchayat office said.
The move from CMDA comes after complaints started pouring in from Thiruverkadu municipality, Thiruneermalai Town Panchayat, Poonamalee panchayat union, Porur town panchayat, Medavakkam town panchayat, St Thomas Mount panchayat union and Villivakkam panchayat union.
The rise in the number of illegal layouts is blamed on failure of CMDA officials to periodically monitor the plans every now and then. A former planner in CMDA hardly visited the local bodies for review resulting in such chaos, an official source told Express.
The issue got exploded after an illegal layout was brought to light in Thiruverkadu. It was alleged that the developer of a new layout in Ayanambakkam Village colluded with local body officials to create an illegal document purporting it to be an approved layout. In addition, the document showed one of the landowner’s property as a public road. While an official inquiry is being conducted in this regard, many similar cases have come to light.
As per a Government Order, unapproved layouts after December 1989 should not be approved. But, officials are giving approval to such layouts, which is blatantly illegal. “In many cases, either the files vanish from office or it is a forged document,” sources said.
There has been many an instance when CMDA officials failed to initiate action even after violations were brought to light. In St Thomas Mount, for instance, CMDA failed to take action against an illegal construction. The delay was such that Madras High court threatened to order a CBI probe into the whole issue.
In Villivakkam panchayat union, more than 10 local body officials, including the BDO, were suspended for irregularities in 2009. The officials are found to have used a single demand draft for giving approvals to various layouts. However, forged layouts are still mushrooming in the region.
Meanwhile, the State government is planning a new regularisation scheme to legalise unapproved layouts across Tamil Nadu.
Sources said the failure to nip fake layouts squarely lies with CMDA which tries to wriggle out of its responsibilities. “If it shirks its responsibility then one can imagine the role played by local bodies,” a builder said.