Walls and buildings have been erected on many plots
The Highways Department has not been able to take over lands that have been gifted by owners towards road widening on the side of several roads including Anna Salai, Jawaharlal Nehru Salai and Poonamallee High Road. The gifts were made for relaxation in floor space index (FSI) for construction ie. owners are permitted additional constructions on other properties .
Termed ‘Transfer of Development Rights,’ the portions of lands are gifted to the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority, which hands it over to the respective local body or Highways Department. When the lands are handed over to the CMDA, they are to be free of any kind of construction.
However, when the Highways Department did a recce, it found watchmen, compound walls, parking lots, generator rooms and other small buildings on them. Highways sources said the building owners don’t respond properly.
“Even though many of these roads are not to be widened in the immediate future and these are bits and pieces of land, we wanted to move utilities including EB boxes, telephone junction boxes, transformers and make movement easy for pedestrians. We could even plant trees. But we are unable to use the lands,” said a source.
“Though there is intimation from the CMDA, there is no information from the Revenue Department. When we ask the VAO, if the land has been registered in the CMDA’s name, they don’t give us proper responses. The revenue records don’t seem to be updated. The land owners continue to enjoy the gifted lands,” said the source.