Agency cracks down on 10-acre property on Poonamallee High Road

The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) on Tuesday locked and sealed a ‘special building’ of Best Price, a modern wholesale joint venture between Bharti and Walmart.

According to a press release from CMDA, “enforcement action has been carried out on February 19, 2013, under the section 56 and 57 of Town and Country Planning Act, 1971 against the ongoing construction of commercial building bearing S. No. 104/2A & 3 of Noombal Village, Poonamallee High Road.”

A special building is a residential or commercial building with more than two floors or a commercial building exceeding a floor area of 300 square metres.

“The building under reference consists of ground floor plus first floor (part). A notice calling for approved plan was issued on November 14, 2012. In response to the notice, the owner did not furnish any approved plan. Hence a lock and seal notice was issued in a letter dated November 27, 2012,” the release said.

A statement by the Bharti Walmart spokesperson read: “The site and under-construction building belong to an independent developer. Bharti Walmart has not received any notices from government authorities. We value the relationship we have with our members and remain committed to serving small retailers, hotels and restaurants and offices and institutions all over India, including Chennai, through our offerings of high quality products at everyday low prices.”

CMDA officials said the planning permission application for development of the 10-acre property, on which buildings covering an area of 65,000 square feet have been constructed, does not mention Bharti Walmart. However, Bharti Walmart mentioned the same address on pamphlets that have been distributed to various entities. Representatives from Best Price had met with traders and started issuing pamphlets to them.

Responding to the sealing of the premises, A.M. Vikramaraja and K. Mohan of the Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangankalin Peramaippu in a release said: “We have already held demonstrations against Bharti Walmart. The venture should be banned. We consider the CMDA’s enforcement action on building violations as the first step of the State government.”

The notice by CMDA on the premises stated that the commercial building is locked and sealed and the same shall continue till the land is restored to its original condition, or till the order is revoked.

“It is hereby cautioned that no third party may acquire or seek to acquire any interest in this property. Neither the owner nor the developer/occupier has any right to use this building in any manner whatsoever or to tamper with the seal of CMDA. In the event of violation, the owner/developer/occupier will be liable for criminal prosecution,” the notice read.

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