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Dec 1, 2009

Councillors raise concerns over plan approval scheme ??

Facing a volley of questions by members crossing across political affiliations on the proposed plan approval scheme, Corporation Commissioner Anshul Mishra assured to look into the concerns voiced by the members and said that a comprehensive plan would be evolved.The Commissioner’s response came at a council meeting on Monday presided by Mayor R. Venkatachalam along with Deputy Mayor N. Karthik.

Even as the zero hour began, members from Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Congress and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam expressed concerns over the viability of the proposed plan approval scheme brought in by Mr. Mishra.Leader of the Opposition V.N. Udayakumar, AIADMK floor leader P. Rajkumar said that the scheme would be detrimental to the interests of the poor, especially those with a very small house sites. This would make the entire process more cumbersome for the poor and middle class.

After the question hour, the Commissioner responded to all the observations made by the members.Responding to a charge that the Commissioner’s functioning had widened the gap between the officials and the elected body, Mr. Mishra said that “no action or gesture was intentional.”The decisions are taken only in accordance with the law and rules prescribed.Requests or demands that were not valid could not be conceded.

But it did not mean that officials have little regard for elected representatives.On the observation that elected representatives could be consulted on decisions that have an impact on the public, Mr. Mishra said that decisions were well within the purview and framework of law and in future the elected representatives would be consulted.“When it comes to professional life, there has to be a limit.“Any request, suggestion or feedback within the legal frame work will be looked into,” he added.The objective of the new building plan approval initiative was to ensure a culture of compliance.

Mr. Mishra said that sites which were less than 1,000 sq ft could not be regularised. In such cases, the applicants could be asked to pay tax and penalty for approval.In cases where sites measured 1,500 sq ft, the applicants could turn up at the Corporation main office and go through the Auto Development Control Rule (Auto DCR) procedures and take the approval online.

This had been made possible in Mysore, Mr. Mishra pointed out. He also said that the corporation would go through the pre-DCR procedures and avail of the services of a panel of Licensed Building Surveyors (LBS).

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