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Building rules and approval

S. Kanagasundaram

Town planning and orderly development are key to quality of life in a city. To ensure that building rules are conformed to, Government authorities have been empowered to check and issue approval for building constructions and layouts.

In Tamil Nadu, there is dual control of town planning activities: DTCP (Director of Town Planning, Chennai) and a local body. Local body refers to a Panchayat, Municipality or Corporation.

In terms of law, the Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act 1971 and the Tamil Nadu District Municipalities Act 1920 are the two based on which all building rules and regulations are framed.

Unfortunately, they are independent of each other and pose two parallel systems for the public to work with.

An applicant must approach a Local Planning Authority (LPA) and get Planning Permission first. Secondly, approach the local body and obtain approval; approval is given as building license. Both are valid for a period of three years within which the construction should be completed. Should more time be required, an application for renewal may be lodged.

As simplification, for residential buildings up to 4,000 sqft and commercial buildings up to 2,000 sqft, the local body itself issues both the Permission and Approval.

The Coimbatore Master Plan was prepared in 1994 and never updated although a revision is due within 5 years. For successful implementation of the law, public acceptance is a must. It should be from People to Govt rather than Govt forcing Public. To address this, the 74th Constitution Amendment Act 1992 (CAA) was promulgated and came into force from 1 June, 1994.

Per CAA, there is only ONE authority for town planning activities and only Approval from local body is required. The master plan has to be proposed by local ward committees only. Will the TN Government make this real like in Kerala and help the public?

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