CHENNAI: Illegal construction in Chennai has been thriving due to corrupt Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) officials who allegedly have links to real estate agencies in different guises.
Some of the officials, including some currently serving in enforcement wing and area plans unit, have links to real estate firms that are in their wives’ or relatives’ names and are playing the role of brokers to move the files.
This comes in the wake of the Madras High Court coming out strongly against 31 CMDA officials for failing to enforce planning laws and aiding unauthorised construction. Some of the cases that resulted in the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption’s probe include construction work in Manapakkam, T Nagar, Anna Nagar and Choolaimedu.
Sources said that DVAC had conducted a detailed enquiry and submitted a report to the State, which in turn issued a Government Order ordering disciplinary proceedings against erring officials.
But none of the officials have been punished so far. Even the suggestion by DVAC to initiate disciplinary action against these officials failed as the CMDA dropped the charges.
Sources say that the lack of action is because most of the enquiry gets defeated by procedural lapses. These include a lack of manpower, availability of vehicles and a big work load in addition to other petty reasons. “Hardly any punitive action has been taken against CMDA employees till now. Even top officials are aware of the time taken to clear a file,” said a builder on the condition of anonymity.
But the biggest culprit of all is the legal cell of CMDA. “They never vacate the stay order in the court,” says another builder who has been fighting a long legal battle over property. “If you see the number of lock and seal cases pending in the court and the failure to vacate the stay by the legal department, you might get a clearer picture,” he said.
M G Devasahayam, a monitoring committee member said that officials in CMDA don’t stop there,“If a stop-work notice is issued, then it is time for them to make money,” he alleged.