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Municipality seals buildings in Udhagamandalam

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The Hindu         15.09.2017  

Municipality seals buildings in Udhagamandalam

The Udhagamandalam Municipality sealed three unapproved buildings located in the town municipal limits on Thursday.

A team comprising more than 15 municipality officials, along with the Nilgiris district police went to the buildings located along Willow Bund Road, Coonoor Road and Khandal. The officials evicted the people residing in the buildings and closed them.

The building owners appealed against the closure, but the Department of Municipal Administration and Water Supply had ordered for the illegal constructions to be closed down, officials from the municipality said.

This was the first day of the eviction drive which is to be carried out by the municipality to clear occupancy of unapproved constructions.

Town Planning Inspector N. Palanichamy said that there were 1,330 cases pertaining to illegal constructions in Udhagamandalam, which would be acted upon on a case-to-case basis in the coming days.

Officials said that the Department of Municipal Administration and Water Supply had directed that water and electricity to the illegal buildings be cut off. The closure of unapproved buildings would continue on the orders of Municipality Commissioner (in-charge), C. Ravi.


Corporation may get powers to approve special buildings

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The Hindu       04.08.2017  

Corporation may get powers to approve special buildings

Ease of business:A panel set up by the State government discusses measures to simplify plan approval procedures.  

Developers complain approval for many projects delayed by CMDA

Chennai Corporation is likely to get more powers in the building plan approval process, including permission for special buildings and larger layouts. The category of special buildings include any residential or commercial building with more than two floors or a residential building with more than six dwelling units or a commercial building exceeding a floor area of 300 square metre.

At present, Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority has the powers to approve plan for special buildings. But developers claimed that approval for many of the projects for special buildings in various parts of the city have been delayed for more than six months by the CMDA.

On Tuesday, a committee constituted by the government and convened by Corporation Commissioner D. Karthikeyan kicked off the meeting to recommend simple procedures for building plan approval.

According to sources in Chennai Corporation, the decision to delegate the powers to issue approval for special buildings will be taken based on an assessment of the data on applications received by CMDA for such buildings.

Similarly, Chennai Corporation is expected to get powers to approve subdivision of plots in layouts measuring four hectare after a study by CMDA and clearance from the government.

The member secretary of CMDA has already delegated powers to the Corporation principal chief engineer to permit plans for institutional and industrial buildings in any area of land and not exceeding 15.25 m in height.

A few years ago, the CMDA member secretary had also delegated powers to zonal executive engineers of Chennai Corporation to permit residential buildings with six dwelling units or commercial buildings with 300 sq m area or buildings with stilt plus two floors or buildings with ground plus first floor.

Other local bodies

In other local bodies of the Chennai Metropolitan Area, the approval for sub division of land measuring 1,000 sq m into eight plots is issued by the commissioner/executive officer.

Industrial buildings in any area not exceeding 15.25 m in height are also approved by the commissioner/executive officer. Powers were also delegated by the CMDA member secretary to municipal commissioner/executive officers to permit residential buildings with six dwelling units or commercial buildings with 300 sq m area or buildings with stilt plus two floors or buildings with ground plus first floor.

Currently, local bodies in areas other than Chennai Metropolitan Area have powers to approve four dwelling units with 4000 sq ft built up area or 2000 sq ft of commercial area.


Metrowater plans rainwater harvesting audit

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The Hindu         04.08.2017 

Metrowater plans rainwater harvesting audit

Earlier sample study found poor maintenance in 30% of structures; Existing mechanisms have potential to add 2.7 tmcft to groundwater every year

In an effort to assess the impact of rainwater harvesting (RWH) measures and ensure water security in Chennai, Chennai Metrowater is planning to conduct an audit of RWH structures across the city. The exercise is expected to begin in a couple of weeks.

The water agency plans to have the audit with community participation and support from voluntary organisations as it does not have sufficient manpower on its own.

According to Metrowater’s data, there are nearly 8.62 lakh RWH structures installed in the buildings across the city. During the last fiscal, 15,200 structures were constructed as it was mandatory for obtaining new or renewal of water and sewer connections.

Metrowater officials said if the RWH structures were found to be poorly maintained, residents would be sensitised about the need for maintenance. Bulk consumers like hospital and educational institutions would be asked individually to maintain such structures. “We have to decide on the methodology to be adopted for the audit. The options of using digital technology are also being considered,” said an official. Residents could also attend awareness meetings planned by the Metrowater in various areas.

Metrowater is also planning to strengthen its hydro-geology wing by recruiting or outsourcing services of graduates from Anna University. The team would be used to map the city’s aquifers, identify new water sources and also encourage implementation of greywater recycling in Chennai’s buildings.

Design change

An audit of RWH structures taken up by Rain Centre, a city-based voluntary organisation two years ago, is perhaps the only comprehensive audit available so far. The organisation was assigned the project by the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA).

The audit covered 1,200 households spread over the city with sandy, clayey and rocky soil. Kottivakkam, Anna Nagar, Thiruvanmiyur, Velachery and Tambaram were some of the areas covered. Sekhar Raghavan, the Centre’s director, said: “We were asked to conduct the audit in fast-developing added areas. We found that 90% of the households had RWH structures. But, 30 % of them were poorly maintained. Many multi-storeyed buildings did not have RWH structures.”

Some of the recommendations included change in RWH structure design and implementation of water metering system. The recommendations are waiting to be incorporated in the Development Control Regulations of CMDA.

Installing rainwater harvesting structures has also gained momentum in town panchayats.

According to sources, nearly 24.31 lakh buildings in town panchayats across the State have constructed such structures.

Across the State

Though it was estimated that recharge potential would be increased to 4,800 million cubic feet as most buildings in the State claimed to have RWH systems, the water table dipped up to 16.5 feet this year in some parts of the State.On the impact of RWH, Mr. Sekhar Raghavan said percolation pits that are suggested by the government agencies would need to be replaced with recharge wells as pits get silted up and cannot be reused.

Environmental activists also noted that the misuse of water bodies has led to the depletion of groundwater resources. Kanchi Amudhan, convenor of Palar River Protection Movement, said that deliberate breaching of bunds of smaller water bodies has compounded the problem further.

( With additional reporting by V. Venkatasubramanian )

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