For the cash-strapped Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC), the regularisation of unapproved plots in the city is turning out to be a sizeable source of revenue. Sources said more than 16,000 people in the city have applied for regularisation with the GCC, of which the local body has issued around 6,800 permits (42.5%).
The civic body has collected Rs 83.5 crore through issuing permits, Rs 17 crore through development charges and Rs 7 crore from taxes imposed for vacant land.
“Majority of the unapproved plots are on the fringes of the GCC limits which were annexed in 2011. These include ones in Ambattur, Valasaravakkam and Alandur. We are completing the work at a fast clip,” said a senior official. This is mainly because these areas had large swathes of agricultural land, which would have been converted into plots or layouts without taking approval of the government, the official added.
Government sources said though this process was initiated throughout the state, few local bodies have been as proactive as the GCC in finishing the work. Regularisation of plots is an important step as without this, GCC or Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) will not give building permits. This would impede construction of buildings for residential or commercial purposes. The land also can’t be kept idle as the GCC would collect vacant land tax.
Sources said more than 22,000 applications for regularisation were received through the online portal. However, only around 16,000 applicants have submitted documents.
Once residents apply for regularisation, GCC officials would come for a site inspection after vetting the documents. Important parameters checked before permits are issued include whether the land abuts a road, if the land is earmarked for land acquisition or mired in court disputes.
Moreover, the land should not be classified as water body, poramboke or agriculture land. “In that case, we ask for a no-objection certificate from relevant government bodies such as the public works department (PWD) before the permit is issued,” the official said.
If no issues crop up in the inspection, GCC notifies the fee to be paid for regularisation and provides one month’s time for payment.
In case of unapproved layout frameworks, the files are forwarded to the CMDA for grant of in-principle approval. Of the 2,650 such applications it received, the CMDA has approved 1,715 layout frameworks and sent it to GCC, official statistics show. Around 140 frameworks have been returned stating that it does not require layout framework.