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Urban Encroachment

Do not regularise illegal buildings: HC

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The Hindu         19.01.2018  

Do not regularise illegal buildings: HC

Encroachment of public spaces cannot be allowed: judges

The Madras High Court on Thursday said the State government must attempt to remove illegal constructions and encroachments in public places such as road, parks and Open Space Reserve area, instead of regularising them.

“As observed by the Supreme Court in many cases, the authorities cannot and shall not regularise the Open Space Reserve and set-backs, as they are like lung spaces of the area, which needs to be protected and restored,” a Bench comprising Justices M. Venugopal and S. Vaidyanathan said.

The observations were made while the court was disposing of a case relating to an unauthorised construction of a shop, D.R. Super Market and Furniture in Red Hills. The petitioners, D. Rajappa and R. Jayalakshmi, sought the removal of lock and seal on their property so that they could apply for regularisation.

The Bench said, “The petitioners having been unsuccessful in several rounds of litigations and are trying to take everyone for a ride, including this court, as could be seen from the facts narrated below. This court will not perpetuate the illegality.”

The judges said the authorities had found that the building had a number of violations, even after providing a revised plan under the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act. “The petitioners were heard and it was found that the entire building is in violation and that earlier, the appellate authority rejected the appeal,” the Bench said.

The petitioners initially approached a Division Bench, which dismissed the writ petition and ordered the demolition of the unauthorised construction in October 2006.

“The matter was taken to the Supreme Court, which rejected the request of the present petitioners,” the court said. Following this, the petitioners sought relief under a G.O. of the Housing and Urban Development department in June 2017, for regularisation. But, it said the petitioners “are not entitled to seek indulgence of this court”.

The Bench also said “it is very unfortunate that the Government being a party to a civil appeal, is trying to give a go-by of the Supreme Court order” and directed the authorities to immediately demolish the illegal building failing which disciplinary action and penalty would be imposed.


Lake loses 177 acres to encroachments

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The Hindu         20.11.2017  

Lake loses 177 acres to encroachments

From 214 acres in 1972, it is now 36 acres; Corporation plans floating gardens

The Chennai Corporation will develop floating gardens in the Villivakkam lake as part of the eco-restoration of the waterbody.

According to a study, a number of houses, commercial buildings and industries have been developed in 83% of the lake area, reducing the waterbody to 36.34 acres. In 1972, the lake had an area of 214 acres.

The existing boundaries of the lake include Jawaharlal Nehru Road and Padi Railway Station on the west, residential areas on the north, Chennai-Tiruvallur High Road on the south and SIDCO Nagar Industrial Estate on the east.

“Most of the lake has been lost. The remaining part is polluted because of letting of industrial effluents. We will develop a floating raft of phytoremediation plants in the lake. The roots will absorb pollutants from the water. The plants will release the pollutants as harmless gases in the atmosphere, cleaning the waterbody,” said an official.

The study by the Corporation has pointed to dumping of construction debris in the lake and unauthorised settlements.


Corporation retrieves 30,000 sq ft of OSR land

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The Hindu        12.09.2017  

Corporation retrieves 30,000 sq ft of OSR land

The land maintained by a residents welfare forum was mired in legal dispute

In an area like Velachery where finding open space for recreational activities is a tough task, the Chennai Corporation has retrieved a big open space reservation (OSR) land and opened it to the public.

The land measuring around 30,000 square feet had remained out of bounds for the public as it was maintained by the residents welfare association of an apartment complex.

A senior Corporation official of Adyar Zone says the OSR land measuring 29,916 sq. ft. was located in Bethel Avenue, Velachery. Located in Regal Palm Garden Apartments, the land was in a legal dispute for several years.

However, members of many residents welfare associations in Velachery say that more has to be done by the officials to retrieve OSR lands which have been encroached upon or caught in legal dispute.

S. Kumararaja, an office-bearer of Annai Indira Nagar Residents’ Welfare Association, says several OSR lands located ‘inside’ multi-storey apartments which are meant to serve as parks and playgrounds for the public have not been handed over to the civic body. A flat promoter in Baby Nagar has constructed a temple in the space allotted for OSR land. In another instance, a park set up on the OSR land inside a multi-storey apartment on 12th Street of Annai Indira Nagar was not open for the public.

Activists urge the civic officials to seriously pursue the court cases so that the OSR lands are retrieved. In some cases, the Corporation has lost the cases despite having the required documents to support its case, they claim.

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