Despite the civic body having issued a lock-and-seal and demolition notice back in 2018, a residential cum commercial building in K K Nagar continues to function as an exhibition hall as TN Electricity Board has issued connections.
RTI replies in December 2020 revealed that the proposals for building approval are pending with the housing and urban development department. The building, proposed to be a marriage hall, had deviated from the original plan in 2017 and extended its area by 228sqm.
Following inspection, officials issued lock and seal notice on February 2, 2017. In January 2018, the Kodambakkam office of Greater Chennai Corporation issued a demolition order. Owner Bhagavathy Raj appealed to the housing department and was given 3 months to get all necessary approvals. In 2019, he sought electricity connections and was granted the same in in January 2020.
When contacted, Raj denied that his building lacked approvals. “I have demolished the deviated parts and made corrections as per the civic body’s notice. The files for approval are pending with the secretariat and I have not violated any norms. Corporation officials have inspected the building,” he toldTOI.
RTI activist V Gopalakrishnan stumbled upon this issue when he found that the building had encroached upon the road. “When I contacted the TNEB, I was told that since officials were not aware of the lock and seal notice, connections were issued. CMDA said the proposal is under scrutiny. The housingdepartment, in the RTI reply, said the file is pending and is under scrutiny. Metrowater hasn’t issued connections citing lack of approvals. It is a complete lack of coordination,” he said.
Kodambakkam executive engineer Chinnadurai said he had written to the housing department on Thursday inquiring about action taken on the appeal. He added that TNEB has been informed that approvals are pending. The ground floor was for commercial purposes while the owner has sought residential permission for the first, Chinndaruai said, adding that it is the first floor that is under inquiry and not been approved.
Recently the Madras HC warned the civic body to demolish all illegal buildings after a PIL pointed out 5,674 such structures in Royapuram zone. “There is no consolidated data on the total illegal buildings and the buildings that have been issued lock and seal notices,” said an official.
A senior corporation official from the land and estates department told TOI: “Even at the zonal level, data isn’t be available. Unless there is a consolidation drive and the process is computerized involving all agencies, this menace would continue.”