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Condone building violations: traders

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SEEKING PROTECTION: The Panagal Park and Usman Road Traders Association wants the T.Nagar area declared a special retail zone.
SEEKING PROTECTION: The Panagal Park and Usman Road Traders Association wants the T.Nagar area declared a special retail zone.

A. Srivathsan

CHENNAI: The Panagal Park and Usman Road Traders Association has requested the Justice Mohan Committee to declare the area comprising Usman Road, north Usman Road, Nageswara Road and Ranganathan Street as a Special Retail Zone and condone all buildings that have violated rules.

On Tuesday, the association made a representation to the committee to protect all the unauthorised constructions in the zone from demolition. The traders admitted it was a “folly” and a “mistake” to have violated the building rules, but, according to them, it was done “out of ignorance and passion for trade” than out of greed. They want protection for all the illegal buildings that have been completed before August 23, 2006, the date on which the High court allowed the 1999 regularisation scheme, but struck down regularisation schemes proposed in 2000, 2001 and 2002 by the Tamil Nadu Government. The 1999 scheme allows only for regularisation of unauthorised construction completed before February 28, 1999.

The traders claim that T. Nagar has emerged as the retail centre of Chennai and contributes Rs. 5 crore a month to the State exchequer.

Trade has increased 60 fold in the last ten years and they want the commercial buildings protected.

The association is willing to financially contribute to the multistoried car parking proposed near Panagal Park by the government. They have also assured that they would abide by the rules and there would be no further violation.

A survey conducted in 2007 by the CMDA showed that a bulk of the building violations happened in T. Nagar. The Justice Mohan Committee was constituted in June 2007 to review The Town and Country Planning Act. In July 2007, the government passed an Act suspending all punitive action against unauthorised buildings for a year. The Act was challenged and the Supreme Court in December 2007 ordered a status quo on the demolition of unauthorised buildings till the final judgment is pronounced.

The Hindu on April 14 reported that buildings in T.Nagar continue to receive demolition notices for building violations.

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