CHENNAI: Unauthorised construction activity is on the rise in the city owing to the shortage of civic staff, so experts have suggested that the corporation follow a model introduced in Hyderabad to curb building violations.
Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) recently decided to give copies of sanctioned building plans to the applicant's neighbours to stop violations. "The sanctioned plan will be posted to three neighbours in the vicinity of the building. They can alert us to any deviations from the sanctioned plan during construction," GHMC additional commissioner (planning and projects) D Ronald Rose told TOI over phone from Hyderabad. "Earlier, we would get information about violations only after the building was completed. It becomes difficult for us to demolish such buildings because of the legal problems," he said.
He said action would be taken against violators based on complaints from neighbours. "We have uploaded all sanctioned building plans on our website to help residents to check building violations in their locality," he said.
Experts said this was a good idea that Chennai Corporation could consider adopting. M G Devasahayam, a member of the court's monitoring committee for building violations, said politicians and civic staff in Chennai turn a blind eye to the mushrooming of illegal structures. "Every other building in Chennai breaks rules. The Hyderabad model of sharing sanctioned building plans with neighbours could tackle the rising number of building violations to an extent," he said.
A few residents are worried about possible misuse. "The corporation should address security concerns before sharing building plans with neighbours. People could file false complaints to settle scores," said K Venugopal, a resident of Kodambakkam.
Rose said they had not received objections from residents. "There is a good response to the idea. The sanctioned building plans are in public domain as it is also required under the Right To Information Act," he said.
TOI had earlier reported that the civic body identified more than 3,000 buildings in 15 zones without plan permission in the last two years. This constitutes only 10% of the total number of illegal buildings. Demolition notices were served on only about 360.
Corporation officials said they were short-staffed and burdenedwith additional responsibilities like issuing completion certificates and plan permits. This prevents them from conducting inspections to identify unauthorised buildings.