The Hindu-Chamber of Commerce interface throws up suggestions for planned growth

The final approved Master Plan for Coimbatore will be ready in six months, Pankaj Kumar Bansal, Director of Town and Country Planning said here on Friday.

Speaking on “Planned Growth for Coimbatore” at ‘Glow Coimbatore’, an interactive meeting organised by The Hindu and The Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Coimbatore, at Sree Baldevdas Kikani Higher Secondary School, he said the draft plan was sent to the Government for suggestions from various departments and was expected to get the Government approval in a couple of weeks. It would then be open for public scrutiny for about two months in order to obtain their suggestions and objections to make it better. Thereafter the directorate would finalise and issue the same.

During the last two years, the State Government has taken several steps to expedite approvals and make transparent the entire process. The approvals granted during the last six months were six times more than those granted during the same period last year. The Directorate of Town and Country Planning had delegated powers to the local offices for granting approvals for residential and commercial buildings up to 2,500 sq.mt. Earlier, there were grey areas with regard to the Developmental Control Rules (DCR) as for some time the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority rules were followed. “Clear planning parameters were announced through the common DCR.”

The directorate had issued a check list for documents that need to be attached with the application for plan approval. In the case of all documents available with the plan, approval was given in 30 days. Those who were unable to get the approval in 30 days could meet the Director on Mondays and Thursdays in Chennai. A website was also launched to bring in transparency. Applicants could track their file status online. Special grievance meetings were conducted regularly at all the centres in the State.

District Collector P. Umanath said planned growth for Coimbatore would mean how people would want the city to be in the future. The growth areas now such as Kalapatti or Saravanampatti were not so some years ago. The reason for the growth was migration of workers and economic growth of those already residing in the city. “We need to create growth zones. We need to find space for satellite township that will accommodate the spill over growth,” he said.

Development should be decentralised. “We need to prepare an action plan for using the civic amenities planned.” The Corporation was implementing several schemes and these should be taken to the next level of sustaining the availability of the amenities. “We need to work on a detailed traffic plan for Coimbatore, such as having a composite terminus.”

Corporation Commissioner Anshul Mishra said the World Classical Tamil Conference had given a boost to the city’s development in that the Government granted funds to take up much-needed infrastructure projects.

Likewise, with funds from the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), the Corporation had been able to implement projects worth around Rs. 800 crore.

He sought public cooperation for inconvenience caused while taking up projects. There were bound to be problems but people had to understand that the works were for city’s development.

The interface provided an opportunity for the city’s residents to voice their views and air their grievances regarding the city’s development. R.R. Balasundharam, vice president of the chamber of commerce, said that there should be only residential and commercial zoning within the Corporation limits. Existing industrial and other land uses should continue as such and when the industries shift operations the land should automatically be converted for either residential or commercial purposes. He also submitted a memorandum to the authorities on the chamber’s suggestions.

President of the Chamber M. Krishnan welcomed the gathering and said the topic was chosen to obtain suggestions from the public to ensure a planned growth for Coimbatore. He welcomed the delegation of powers to the regional offices or the Local Planning Authority.

Chief of Bureau of The Hindu, Coimbatore, K.V. Prasad, said the objective of this interface and many more to come was aimed at throwing light on the various requirements for planned development of the city.

D. Nandhakumar, honorary secretary of the Chamber, proposed a vote of thanks.

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