CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Local Bodies Ombudsman has directed the Greater Chennai Corporation to inspect all the residential buildings in the city to verify that they are functioning as residential or non-residential buildings and to re-assess property tax for violated buildings to increase revenue. The order comes at time when the civic body is revising property tax rates across the city to increase own source revenue.
"Inspection should be conducted in residential buildings across the city and revise tax for buildings that functions as non-residential. Also, action should be taken against officials who failed to identify to violated buildings and connived with building owners, " M Malik Feroz Khan, Tamil Nadu Local Bodies Ombudsman, directed the civic body while disposing of a complaint from a resident.
G Deva, a resident of Vadapalani filed a complaint with the Forum urging action against a hotel in Nungambakkam. In his complaint, Deva said that he had sought some information under RTI Act about the hotel in October 2021 but the information were shared only after seven months.
"As per the RTI information, the hotel is functioning with building permission received for residential building. As customers park their vehicles on pedestrian pavement, pedestrians are forced to walk on the road negotiating danger, " the complaint said.
Deva also filed complaints with CMDA, Police and the Chennai Corporation about the hotel in June 2022 and the CMDA has sent a recommendation to the civic body to take action against hotel. Deva requested the Forum to issue order for the lock and seal of the hotel.
In his response, Chennai Corporation executive engineer of Teynampet zone clarified that the building permission has been given in 1989 by the civic body and the revenue wing of the civic body reassessed the building as non-residential in 2020.
He also informed that notice has been given to the hotel to convert the hotel into residential building as per the plan.
Hearing both the sides, the Ombudsman censured the civic body for delaying 31 years for reassess the building (property tax) as non-residential. "If the revenue officials and engineers periodically inspected the buildings, civic body could have generated more revenue. Departmental action should be taken against the officials who delayed the reassessment, " the order said.