Prepare list of illegal structures, take action: HC to CMDA

Chennai: After Sowcarpet, illegal buildingsin Choolai area here now face action as Madras High Court has directed Chennai Metropolitan Development Corporation toprepare a list of such structures there and take action for public health and welfare of residents. The division bench, comprising Justices Sathish K Agnihotri and M Venugopal, while declining to quash a stop work notice issued by CMDA to a four storyed residential building in Choolai area, also ordered its demolition and withdrawal of power and water supply illegally given to it.

The bench said it has been brought to its notice that there are several other illegal buildings in the area and directed CMDA and Chennai Corporation to make an extensive survey of the area to find out such constructions, if any. "If it is so, after affording proper opportunity of hearing by way of notice/statutory notice, authorities shall take action to achieve the purpose of public health and general welfare of the residents of the locality."

The building owner had got permission only for a ground plus two floors from CMDA. A local resident in his complaint to civic officials, said the area was full of narrow roads and old buildings and had been taken over by multistoreyed and special buildings
with no attention to infrastructure like water, sewerage capacity, fire safety and parking. The building had been given
power and water supply though it was yet to receive completion certificate from CMDA, he said.

Since no action was taken on his complaint, he moved theHigh Court to direct authorities to demolish the structure.
After the matter was admitted, CMDA issued a stop-work notice. Since construction continued despite it and the owners
filed a petition to quash the notice, the Court asked both parties to maintain status quo.

Slamming the owners for defying stop-work notice, the judges said it was evident they have no regard for law. Despite the notice, they had carried on the illegal construction, perhaps to secure equitable remedy in the pending petition, disregarding the requirements of permission, sanction and approval for development and construction of the building.

"Thus we direct officials to take action forthwith for demolition of the unauthorised illegal construction, and also withdraw all facilities which were illegally extended to them. Such exercise shall be completed within two weeks," the judges said.

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