‘In violation of court order, CMDA reclassified waterbody’
As a competent authority, CMDA has reclassified by following proper procedures. The layout approval was delayed due to the reclassification of land use from waterbody to residential area.
CHENNAI: Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) has converted a waterbody into ‘residential use zone’ for building tenements, thus violating a High Court order. The state government allocated 74.57 acres of land on Moorthingnagar Street in Chennai for the construction of tenements. The site had 4.24 acres of waterbody, a CAG report said.
The CMDA issued orders in October 2020 for the reclassification of ‘Water Body’ into ‘Residential Use’. The action of conversion of a waterbody to residential use is not permissible and violates the Madras High Court besides causing environmental damage.
As per the second Masterplan, waterbody should not be converted for any other use. Despite an earlier CAG report highlighting it in its report ‘Flood Management and Response in Chennai and its suburban areas’ in 2016, the violation of converting waterbodies to residential plots continues. The state government in its reply said CMDA had notified certain areas as waterbodies. As a competent authority, CMDA has reclassified by following proper procedures. The layout approval was delayed due to the reclassification of land use from waterbody to residential area.
“The reply is not tenable since both CMDA and the TNUHD Board are under the administrative jurisdiction of the same department and work should have commenced only after obtaining statutory clearances,” the audit report said. “The revenue department is the competent authority for classification or reclassification of land and the reply did not mention obtaining approval from the revenue department,” the report added.