A. Srivathsan

Panel asks authorities to demand planning permission "Authorities have hitherto not seriously looked into planning permission details"

CHENNAI: The Multi-storeyed Building panel constituted by the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) has recommended that licensing of theatres, hotels and lodges be made more stringent.

The panel comprises members from local bodies and various departments including fire services.

HC judgment

It has asked the licensing authorities to seek planning permission details before issuing licences for these buildings. This decision comes close on heels after the recent High Court judgment on building violations.

It is observed that many theatres and hotels easily get a licence to operate, in spite of not complying with the planning rules. The non-compliance could include inappropriate land use, inadequate open space, and lack of parking and excessive built-up area. Some of these violations undermine public safety. A theatre may comply with other licensing norms but it could still be inappropriately located in terms of traffic volume and use.

The road width could be insufficient to take the large number of vehicles that come to theatres, especially multiplexes. This often leads to traffic congestion. Some of the hotels too fail to comply with planning norms. Cars are often seen piling on the sides of the streets, reducing the effective width of the road and creating hardships for the public.

The trade license to operate a lodging house and restaurant is obtained from the Corporation of Chennai, while the Cinema theatre comes under the authority of the District Collector.

Licensing authorities had hitherto not seriously looked into planning permission details. Instead, they focussed on trade licensing aspects. This limited approach also encouraged many building violations.

The CMDA's recommendation for more stringent norms for licensing seeks to pre-empt such violations.