Responsible buying is the key: activists

September 15, 2016 12:00 am | Updated November 01, 2016 06:31 pm IST - CHENNAI:

Yes, there are unscrupulous developers who pass off unapproved layouts as those permitted by some local authority or the other. But buyers too must be responsible and check for planning compliance before buying plots of land, say activists.

Asked about the effect of the Madras High Court ban on registration of land or houses in unapproved layouts on the common man, T. Mohan, an expert in town planning, said: “ People are spending lakhs of rupees on buying land, but are not bothered about compliance with the law. They should be responsible purchasers and make sure they don’t fall foul of the law.”

“As long as there are irresponsible buyers, there will be corrupt sellers,” Mr. Mohan said.

While welcoming the interim order against registration of unauthorised layouts, plots and buildings, he said: “A real systemic change needs to happen. The 2008 amendments brought to the Town Planning Act are very mild and ineffective. In a country where permission is mostly obtained by violation of law, I think what is needed is a drastic review of both the law and the current practice.”

He also said planning authorities should also be restrained from giving building licences based on such properties. “If the plot is already been registered and the plot is unauthorised then nobody should be allowed to construct buildings on it,” he added.

Blanket ban will not help

While highlighting the difficulties the order would pose to those who want to sell their property, an advocate privy to the issue, who did not want to be quoted, said, “When everybody wants to go for approved plots, it is practically not possible.

“It is not that DTCP approval alone is valid; a person can get permission, even without such approval, to build a house on agricultural land for his own use.”

In fact, the order should technically apply only to those who try to convert agricultural lands for development on commercial basis,” he added.

Another activist and lawyer V. Suresh said, “When land conversion viewed from the context of water, food and biodiversity security we are in a deep crisis, so we when we look at this order from that context, it is not only welcome, but a necessary step for curbing arbitrary wanton land use change.”

‘What is needed is a drastic review of both the law as it stands today and what is practised’

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