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Housing Minister refutes Annamalai’s allegations – Mrit News

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The BJP’s State president has alleged that the government favours a particular private real estate developer

The BJP’s State president has alleged that the government favours a particular private real estate developer

Tamil Nadu Minister for Housing and Urban Development S. Muthusamy has refuted the allegations levelled by BJP State president K. Annamalai that the government favoured a particular private real estate developer.

Mr. Annamalai had alleged that Mr. Muthusamy’s Ministry was granting approval at an unusually faster pace for the projects executed by G Square. In particular, he cited three projects in Coimbatore, at Egattur in Chengalpattu district and Neelankarai in Chennai.

Addressing media persons here on Wednesday, the Minister said the majority of the details, particularly the dates, provided by Mr. Annamalai were incorrect.

He said the applications for these projects were not even filed in the name of G Square. For instance, he said, the application for land conversion for the nearly 125-acre project in Coimbatore was filed by one Siva Manickam when the AIADMK was in power. He said the approval for land conversion and the subsequent approval by the Directorate of Town and Country Planning (DTCP) for the layouts were granted before the DMK came to power. He said the approvals by the local body concerned came earlier this year after a prolonged delay.

In the case of Egattur, the application for layout approval for 7.47 acres was submitted in the name of one Mahavir Santh on October 7, 2021, he said. Approval was granted 36 days later on November 12. He said the relatively faster approval was possible because of the delegation of powers to the district authorities for less than 10 acres.

Explaining that the approvals were generally sought for three stages, viz. land conversion, layouts and building construction, he said the approvals for layouts took lesser time.

As for faster approvals by the Tamil Nadu Real Estate Regulatory Authority (TNRERA), he said the organisation was mandated to process applications within 30 days.

Asked how many applications were received in the name of G Square, the Minister said his Department had not received any application so far in the organisation’s name. He said that while it might be possible that the projects highlighted by Mr. Annamalai were sold later to G Square, those details were immaterial to his Department. He, however, said some applications in the name of G Square were received by the Greater Chennai Corporation and other local bodies, which processed them as per law.

“It does not matter which organisation is filing application. What matters is whether we have violated any rules or granted approvals illegally. We have not done anything illegal,” he said.

On Mr. Annamalai’s allegation that a Chief Executive Officer was newly appointed to the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), he said the post had existed since 1978 and 46 IAS officers had held it. “For about two years, it was left vacant. We have appointed an officer now.”

Vacancies

The Minister said the Department was putting in the best efforts to discharge its duties effectively despite a large number of vacancies. He highlighted that 32% of the posts in the DTCP and 37% of posts in the CMDA were lying vacant. “These posts were left vacant over the past 10 years. We are now making efforts to fill them,” he said.

He highlighted that the Department was undertaking reforms, especially in the implementation of the single window system, to avoid delays in the grant of approvals. Pointing out that the new online system was being tried out by the CMDA, he said both the DTCP and the CMDA would have online systems fully ready for land conversion and layout and building approvals in about two months.


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