Chennai

George Town buildings flout rules

A PIL was filed earlier, seeking a direction on illegal constructions in the locality in order to prevent fire accidents. Photo: R. Ragu

A PIL was filed earlier, seeking a direction on illegal constructions in the locality in order to prevent fire accidents. Photo: R. Ragu  

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A number of structures constructed without building approval

All buildings in George Town have been found in violation of development regulations, with most of the deviations found on higher floors.

Following a direction from the Madras High Court to the Chennai Corporation and Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) to file a report on unauthorised constructions in George Town, the civic body has done a preliminary screening of the buildings. This central business district has more than 14,000 buildings with around 25,000 property tax assessees.

The Corporation is likely to ask the owners of over 11,000 of the buildings in the area to submit the original building plan approved earlier. The CMDA is also likely to direct owners of around 3,000 structures, including multi-storeyed buildings, to produce the original plan approval.

The land use in George Town primarily comprises residential and mixed-residential zones. It is classified as a ‘continuous building area’, permitting structures of ground-plus-one floor, with a floor space index of 1.5.

Many of the owners have been found to have obtained permission for a building with ground-plus-one floor, but constructed multi-storeyed buildings. A number of the structures have been constructed without obtaining building approval from the civic body.

A few months ago, social activist K.R. Ramaswamy alias ‘Traffic’ Ramaswamy had filed a public interest litigation in the Madras High Court, seeking a direction to authorities with regard to illegal constructions in the locality in order to prevent fire accidents.

In his petition, Mr. Ramaswamy alleged ‘deliberate negligence’ on the part of the Corporation, traffic police, fire service and CMDA in preventing illegal structures from coming up.

Disaster management expert N. Mathavan, who developed the disaster resilience index for the city, said most of the roads are very narrow. “Fire tenders cannot reach a building in the event of a disaster. Vulnerability mapping for disaster management should be done in the area. The community in George Town is not prepared for any disaster,” he said.

A former urban planning expert with CMDA, however, clarified that a question of violation would arise “only if construction is done newly”.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 5:40:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/george-town-buildings-flout-rules/article6571651.ece

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