The High Court-appointed monitoring committee, which met on Friday, directed Chennai Corporation, Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority and other local bodies in the Chennai Metropolitan Area to commence work on converting files pertaining to regularisation applications of buildings to digital format.

It expressed dissatisfaction over the enforcement action taken by CMDA and the Corporation in T. Nagar. Also, it blamed their failure to convert files into digital format for the “total chaos prevailing in the CMDA”.

“We reviewed the enforcement action in T.Nagar on 62 buildings. CMDA was able to seal only six buildings. We expressed our dissatisfaction on the total chaos,” said M.G.Devasahayam, monitoring committee member.

“All files should be in digital format. The government should also not protect violators,” he added.

As a first step, the committee stressed the need for converting all files pertaining to the 65,529 applications submitted for regularisation in Chennai.

In 2006, the Madras High Court struck down various schemes introduced by the government to regularise unauthorised construction and upheld only the scheme that was announced in 1999.

This meant that unauthorised buildings completed before February 28, 1999 alone qualified for regularisation. As a result, about 25,000 applications of the 65,529 submitted for regularisation were rejected. The monitoring committee also called for streamlining the entire process of approval. The committee would meet again in the first week of December.

The Supreme Court last week ordered status quo in respect of 27 shops and establishments that had been sealed in the T. Nagar area for violations.

The court restrained the authorities from sealing other shops or demolition of buildings (including the 27 shops that had been sealed) pursuant to the show cause notices issued to them.

The Bench made it clear there should be no further sealing or demolition. In respect of the shops already sealed, the Bench asked the High Court to pass appropriate directions after hearing the petitioners when the matter is taken up on November 30.

The Chennai Corporation sealed 21 buildings and the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority sealed six buildings on October 31.

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Aloysius Xavier LopezJune 28, 2012

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