Catchment area of Redhills to be reclassified?

CMDA mulls proposal to change land use, likely to conduct study to frame regulations
Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA)
Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA)

CHENNAI: The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) is considering a proposal to change the land use of the Redhills Catchment Area. According to the minutes of a recent Authority meeting, a scientific study is likely to be conducted to frame regulations for the area so that it can be used for development.

The minutes of the meeting, signed on December 15 and accessed by TNIE, stated that the authority has decided to review the present provisions and suitable recommendations for reclassifying the catchment area. This comes after TNIE had highlighted the plan of the CMDA member secretary and then housing secretary to change the categorisation of 120 acres of land in Morai and Vellanur villages for development.

The move to reclassify the catchment area was opposed by AIADMK leader and former chief minister Edapaddi K Palaniswamy, who had urged the government to withdraw the proposal put forward by the Housing and Urban Development department.

Spread across 4,500 acres, the Redhills reservoir is one of the largest water sources for the city. With a total capacity of 3,300 million cubic feet, the reservoir has been providing water to the city even in times of drought. A portion of Krishna river water released from Andhra Pradesh is also stored in this reservoir.

According to the development regulations of the Second Master plan, to protect the water source, contiguous areas in the catchments of the lake have been declared as catchment area restricted for development. There are 27 villages covered along the catchment area and these should not be developed, sources told TNIE. Nonetheless, 70% of villages have been developed along the catchment areas for residential and industrial purposes. This also comes as CMDA plans to develop the Outer Ring Road and the classification of catchment areas is impeding the development.

Similarly, a portion of Periya Eri in Pallavaram has been reclassified as a residential zone despite opposition from NGOs like Arappor Iyakkam. According to documents available with TNIE, even the technical committee, under whose recommendation the water body was reclassified, has stated that the tahsildar of Pallavaram, Taluka, in a letter dated October 19, 2022, has highlighted that the land records for changing the waterbody to punjai is not available with them.

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