Many schools function without approval for their building from local bodies

The Directorate of Matriculation Schools has urged private schools across the State to avail of the property tax exemption and regularisation concessions offered by the State government for school buildings constructed prior to July 1, 2007.

Sources in the Directorate of Matriculation Schools told The Hindu that many schools in Tamil Nadu had been functioning without approval for their buildings from the local bodies. Now, the Department of School Education had made plan approval mandatory for schools in order to obtain or renew recognition of their institutions. Section 18 of the Right To Education Act prohibits schools from functioning without recognition.

Tamil Nadu Private Schools Association president R. Visalakshi, however, said that the cut-off year fixed as 2007 was unfair and the exemptions must be granted to school buildings constructed before June 2013.

“This exemption was being provided only to schools that had obtained approval from local bodies, which most of the schools had done by June 2013,” she said.

She said that as the schools had already paid infrastructure and amenities charges to local bodies while getting approval, they should be completely exempted from paying the Local Planning Authority fees. At present, the schools were given 50 per cent exemption.

Coimbatore had 82 matriculation high schools and 185 higher secondary schools with a total of 2.27 students (1.18 lakh boys and 1.09 lakh girls), an official said.

The exemptions will be accorded only if the buildings conformed to the Government Orders 234 and 235, which were issued last year and G.O. 43 issued in February this year.

The G. Os specify that the floor space index violations should not exceed 50 per cent of the maximum limit. Further, the applications for regularisation would be rejected if the extent of violations in respect of minimum required road width exceeds 20 per cent. The violations in minimum setback spaces in front, rear and side of the building should not exceed 50 per cent of the mandated norms.

The State government, in November 2012, issued guidelines under Section 113-C (a new clause brought in after an amendment) of the Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act, 1971 for the exemption of unauthorised buildings from regulations.