Few takers for development rights certificates

The government has planned to give ₹220 crore compensation for residents affected by the widening of Kaliammankoil Street.  

Many civic infrastructure projects in the city run the risk of being shelved because of low utilisation of Development Rights Certificates (DRC) and the reluctance of residents to accept Transfer of Development Rights for land acquired for civic projects.

Residents and developers in Chennai and its suburbs have not been able to utilise DRCs for around 70% of land acquired for civic projects even after accepting Transfer Of Development Rights.

DRCs are issued by the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority to land owners who lose land for civic infrastructure projects, compensating them by providing additional floor space index in lieu of the area lost.

According to data compiled by various civic agencies, less than 1% of the residents who had given land for civic infrastructure projects in 2017 have utilised DRCs in the Chennai Metropolitan Area. The average utilisation of DRCs in the past six years has been just 31%.

Of the 28,296 sq. m. of land acquired for civic infrastructure projects in the Chennai Metropolitan Area, just 8,976 sq m has been utilised by residents who lost their land parcels. Civic officials are in a scramble to make statutory changes to promote Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) as the low utilisation of development rights certificates has started causing a delay in civic infrastructure projects in the city. For example, Vikram Chandiramani lost 163 sq. m. of land in Palavakkam for the expansion of East Coast Road in 2017. The CMDA issued DRC for the land. But he has not been able to utilise the certificate so far.

“It is not the right time to use it because of the impact of demonetisation and GST. It may not be an ideal instrument now. It can be used only against future buildings. People want it to be liquidated even when there is no demand and the market is dull,” said Mr. Chandiramani.

Makeover proposed

As a number of residents are reluctant to accept TDR in lieu of land lost to civic infrastructure projects, the State government is planning to make changes in the DRC as an instrument, making it more attractive.

“The government is planning to make changes in DRC as a financial instrument. A new agency will be formed to issue the instrument. After making changes in the instrument, DRCs can even be mortgaged in banks to get money. This will lead to improvement in civic infrastructure development in the city. If residents find it easy to liquidate DRCs, the popularity of the instrument will increase among residents,” said an official.

The Chennai Corporation’s project to widen congested roads such as Sardar Patel Road and Nelson Manickam Road is also likely to be shelved if the DRCs are not popularised among residents.

Elevated corridors proposed by the Corporation to ease congestion in areas such as T.Nagar and Nungambakkam require more than ₹1,000 crore for land acquisition.

“More than 250 residents who will lose land along Kaliammankoil Street have already rejected the offer of DRCs. We have requested the government for ₹220 crore for providing compensation for the affected residents. Once we get the G.O. we will start work,” said an official of Chennai Corporation.

The project for widening Kaliamman Koil Street has received priority and funding from the government is expected to be cleared soon. However, the government may not be able to give money for all affected residents who are set to lose land for other civic projects in the city, officials said. At least, 132 roads have been identified for widening by the Corporation, officials said.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2020 12:13:46 PM |

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