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(ARCHIVE) Vol. XVIII No. 25, april 16-30, 2009
CMDA ponders best land use

– Heritage protection
also part of the plans

(By A Staff Reporter)

At long last, it looks as though Government will be addressing issues that concern the city’s land, its environment, heritage and pollution, sooner rather than later, if intentions recently ­expressed lead to implementation. It is reliably learnt that a Committee has been formed to study these aspects under the ­auspices of the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA). And in what gladdens Madras Musings, which had long championed the cause, drafting of Heritage Regulations for the Chennai Metropolitan Area is expected to be part of the Committee’s ­mandate.

Heritage regulations, if in place, may yet save this building.

Coming under the purview of the Second Master Plan (SMP), the Committee will study existing and proposed land use with reference to the Development Regulations that have been proposed in the SMP. It will also consider environment sustaina­bility as well as the accompanying land, water, air and noise pollution. The Committee will comprise the major stakeholders who will be represented by experts in the relevant fields.

It is learnt that the city’s built and natural heritage is also included among the various ­aspects under study. The Committee will be looking at the list of heritage buildings and the draft Heritage Act submitted by INTACH in 1999. The structures will be physically verified, that is if they still exist, several ­having been demolished in the interim, and also for their qualifying to be included in the heritage list. This list will be made public so that comments and suggestions for inclusion or ­deletion can be given by the public. The final list that will emerge will be included in the draft heritage regulations for the city. With cities such as Ahmedabad (see alongside) getting heritage regulations ­together, can we hope that Chennai too will soon see them in place? Perhaps elements of the Ahmedabad regulations can also be included in the proposed Act for Chennai.

Natural heritage will also receive the attention of the Committee. The Forest Department has submitted a plan for the greening of the city in five years. This may be the same proposal that was reported in Madras Musings a few months ago which involved an Assistant Conservator of Forests, with six rangers and twelve foresters under him, leading the effort. Their prime responsibility would be to grow saplings and ensure that these are distributed to people. They would also work towards creating eco clubs in schools and work with concerned government agencies and NGOs.

The Committee will also have the city’s waterways as a topic to discuss and study means of regulating the ongoing work. As is well known, over Rs. 1200 crore was sanctioned to improve the waterways of the city during the last few years but there has been very little visible improvement. This is due to the plethora of agencies that claim control over the waterways. The CMDA, it is understood, is trying to coordinate the effort and slowly give some focus to the situation, but is faced with the problem of lethargic response.

It is to be hoped that the Committee will move quickly and come out with its recommendations which Government can look forward to introducing equally speedily. With rampant use of land for real estate development and the continued degradation of the environment, time is fast running out for Chennai.


In this issue

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A simple doctor...
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