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Southern States - Tamil Nadu

Regularisation of buildings: Poorest response to third scheme
By Feroze Ahmed

CHENNAI, DEC. 1. The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority's latest drive for regularisation of buildings and layouts has received the poorest response, compared to the two earlier schemes, forcing the Government to extend it by a month.

The authorities have succumbed to pressures from the builders' lobby which has been demanding an extension of the deadline. The fee structure remains the same.

The earlier schemes were also considered failures. There are an estimated three lakh deviations in the city. In the absence of a tangible motivation or threat, the present scheme attracted only about Rs.six crores from 1,000 applicants till November 29, while the second drive last year drew Rs.97.27 crores from 11,000 applicants. In the latest drive, the Corporation has received only about Rs.60 lakhs from 800 applicants.

The last-day rush in the CMDA and Corporation offices for submitting applications on Friday was not as expected, when the original deadline expired.

The application period for the third scheme has been extended to December 31. Buildings constructed till October 31 are covered as against the original stipulation of July 31.

It appears that this time, the CMDA has failed to lure its target group of builders and promoters. Most of the applicants are owners of individual buildings and flats.

Despite clear indications of a failure, the Government refused to explain its stance on issues crippling the third scheme _ high fees and cumulative penalty structure. That the CMDA received only 1,000 applications from about 7,000 forms sold indicates the public discontent with the changes in the provisions.

The poor publicity for the drive has come under fire. The introduction of three regularisation schemes had created an expectation that another drive with further reduction in fees was likely. The extension of the scheme has only heightened such speculations.

The Government has been contemplating measures to stop building violations, but implementation of hard-hitting policies requires a political will. Demolitions were planned early November to trigger a greater response to the scheme but were not carried out for reasons undisclosed.

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