CAG raps TNUHDB, CMDA for construction on water body, Real Estate News, ET RealEstate

October 12, 2023

CHENNAI: The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has come down heavily on the Tamil Nadu Urban Habitat Development Board (TNUHDB) for allowing construction of tenements on a water body. It also highlighted that the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority’s (CMDA) reclassification of water bodies for residential use can cause environmental damage.

The audit report recommended that construction projects should be initiated only after obtaining planning permission from the authorities concerned and responsibility needs to be fixed for violations.

According to the CAG performance audit on Housing for Urban Poor for the year ended March 31, 2021, the Tamil Nadu government in July 2005 allotted 74.57 acres on Moorthingar Street, Chennai, for construction of TNUHDB tenements. In 2018, the board constructed 960 tenements under Phase I on 8.96 acres. Subsequently, phase II and Phase III projects on Moorthingar Street were sanctioned in 2018 for construction of 1,080 tenements on 11.17 acres. The report said that of the 74.57 acres allotted, 4.24 acres was classified as water body. The audit team carried out spatial data analysis of the site and observed that the construction of Phase II and III was done on the water body. “Despite sufficient availability of land, the board constructed tenements in the water body posing dangers to the lives of the inhabitants,” the audit said.

It found the CMDA had in October 2020 issued orders for reclassification of water body for residential use. “As per the second master plan, water body should not be converted for any other use. Though this was highlighted in the CAG Report for the year ended March 31, 2016, the violation continues,” the report said.

In its reply, the government said the CMDA had notified certain areas as water body during the preparation of master plan. “As the competent authority CMDA has reclassified thereafter following proper procedures,” the government said. However, the CAG said both CMDA and TNUHDB are under administrative jurisdiction of the same department and work should have commenced only after obtaining statutory clearances.“Further the revenue department is the competent authority for classification and reclassification of land. The reply did not mention about obtaining approval from the revenue department in this regard,” the audit report said.

  • Published On Oct 12, 2023 at 02:00 PM IST

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