CHENNAI: The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) plans to auction off 300 acres of land along the 62-km Outer Ring Road (ORR) corridor to private players for large-scale commercial developments. The move comes after the government gave its nod for development along the 50-metre wide strip of land abutting the ORR. The proposal, however, could pose a legal hurdle.
Since the land was acquired to build a road, the CMDA could face legal challenges to divert it for other purposes. If not used for the intended purpose, the land has to be restored to its owners after being denotified as was done in the case of acquiring land for the airport. Or, prior before putting it to commercial use, the land has to be reclassified, say official sources.
The land for the ORR project was acquired under the 1894 Land Acquisition Act. The second master plan classified the entire ORR as a road. It is learnt that the total land on the 50-metre strip from Vandalur to Minjur is roughly 700 acres, of which 250 acres is full of quarries, waterbodies and other utilities. Of the remaining 450 acres, 300 acres will be auctioned off.
According to documents accessed by TNIE, the CMDA had faced litigation while acquiring land for the ORR project with one of the petitioners seeking 25 cents of land in the 50-metre stretch following a Madras High Court direction. Dr Chellarani David of Grace Hospital, whose land was acquired for the project, told TNIE that she had moved the court seeking alternate land after her land was acquired. “The HC directed the CMDSA to provide 25 cents on the 50-metre stretch but the latter opposed it saying that the entire stretch of land (122 metres) has been acquired for road purposes only,” said Dr David.
Interestingly, the CMDA, in its petition in September 2012, stated that the 50-metre strip of land is very much required for wayside amenities such as truck terminals, bus stops, truck-lay bays, junction improvements, etc. “The government never considered the financial viability of the project by way of commercial exploitation. The government is not for any commercial motive and the ORR scheme is implemented with the social objective of decongesting Chennai,” CMDA said in its petition.
Dr David said she will again approach the Housing Secretary with a fresh plea to allot the 25 cents as ordered by the HC. “Since it is being put to commercial development, we now want the 25 cents of land which was allotted to us,” she said.
A former Anna University professor of urban engineering, KP Subramanian, said land acquired for a particular project could not be put to use for any other purpose as per the land acquisition act.
Interestingly, the CMDA is planning to come up with 37 proposed projects along the ORR. It is learnt that the CMDA is appointing a valuer to assess the market value of the land and fix a price. Similarly, the permissible use for all land parcels shall be defined before the auction.
It is learnt that CMDA is appointing a valuer to assess the market value of the land and fix a price | shiba prasad sahu
ALSO WATCH |