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Builders in jitters over HC order on CRZ breach on ECR
The recent Madras High Court order directing the Revenue authorities to demolish illegal buildings violating Coastal Regulation Zone rules along the serene East Coast Road has sent a panic button among property owners and resort managers in Kancheepuram district.
“The property owners are now running from pillar to post, meeting the higher-ups in offices of Ministers, Kancheepuram Collector, Municipal Administration department, Chennai Corporation and Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority to ensure there is no demolition threat to their buildings,” said an informed senior official at the Secretariat.
The issue pertains to about 700 such buildings and there are serious violations in the case of more than 100 buildings. After the Supreme Court order on Maradu flats’ demolition, the focus on such violations has increased. Property dealers want the demolition drive delayed so that they can think about other options like appealing before the Supreme Court.
The details of the number of bungalows and other buildings constructed in the high tide zone had been profiled and the HC had asked to share the photographs, as well as Google map images, to pinpoint their exact location. This had put the local body officials in a spot as they failed to act when the buildings were constructed, the official said.
The number of buildings along the Chennai coast has become an eyesore and they are endangering the critical nesting habitat of Olive Ridley turtles. Though the Forest department has done nothing in this regard, the demolition drive would be a boost to the degraded shoreline, said a forest ranger who has set up hatchery units for the nesting turtles between Besant Nagar Beach to Neelankarai.
“The court direction is a welcome move. But the case should not be delayed, giving further time for the violators. There are also illegal buildings beyond Muttukadu and the Madras High Court should also look into the private properties that have come up along the Mamallapuram shore,” said environmentalist Thiru Gnanam of Tiruchy Biodiversity Conservation Foundation. “The government should also not lay roads close to the shoreline,” he added.