CHENNAI: Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority is facing a hamletian dilemma on whether to act against illegal buildings or frame appropriate rules and guidelines after the High Court quashed two Government Orders (GO) that allowed regularisation of illegal buildings built till July 1, 2007.
While CMDA officials are seeking the advice of the advocate general before taking any steps, a section of traders in T Nagar have sought the reclassification of T Nagar area, where there is illegal construction on a large-scale, into a commercial zone. They also want a special GO to legalise buildings in the area.
CMDA sources said one had to take existing rules into consideration before thinking of any such move, “Whether it is possible or not is the decision that needs to be taken by the government,” said an official from the CMDA.
The traders had been opposing any action against the buildings after they were sealed in 2012 after the Supreme Court’s diktat. This also resulted in the government passing two GOs to legalise illegal buildings under Section 113 C, which was opposed by the monitoring committee. They opposed moving the cut-off date to legalise erring buildings from July 27, 1999 to July 1, 2007 stating that such exemption was a one-time measure only.
M G Devasahayam, a monitoring committee member who opposed the two GOs, stated that only 15 to 20 people have applied under the new regularisation scheme as most of the people were not sure about the legal implications. “Since it hasn’t taken off, let the CMDA start all over again from 1999. They should go back to the 2006 judgement which okayed legalising erring buildings built prior to July 27, 1999,” he stated.
He also added that there was no point in dragging the issue so that the violators could benefit. “This would result in chaos and more corruption,” he warned.
A rough estimate suggests that there were about three lakh buildings in the State built without authorisation. The High Court hit out on this issue as well, stating that if this was the position in 2000, the numbers of unauthorized buildings would have increased manifold.
Devasahayam added that the monitoring committee had identified 1,500 to 2,000 multi-storied buildings that were the biggest violators. “When we were about to take action, there was a protest and the government passed the GO,” he said.
Although, the court may have stepped up the pressure on CMDA to act, it does seem unlikely that the issue of illegal construction in Chennai would be sorted out in the coming years.