Delays persistsafter building plan process goes online in Chennai
Getting sanction for a building plan in the city is still a cumbersome process. More than a year after announcing its plan to make the entire process online, as part of the effort to cut inordinate delay and eradicate corruption, the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) is yet to begin the next phase of making scrutiny of applications online.
Presently, while applications can be submitted online, applicants still have to submit hard copies of the various supporting documents in person.
Developers complain that the inordinate delay has put them in a fix, forcing them to put off the launch of key projects indefinitely. As per regulations, any decision on an application seeking planning permission must be taken within 45 days.
R Kumar, former Tamil Nadu chapter president of Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (Credai), said that the delay in issuing planning permission was currently anywhere between six months and one year depending on the development. “The rate at which planning permissions are being processed has improved significantly in recent months. Still, for special buildings [stilt + four floors or ground + three floors], it takes about six months, and it is nine months to more than a year in the case of multi-storeyed structures [over and above stilt + four floors or ground + three floors],” he said.
The CMDA began testing the software to be used for online scrutiny of applications about five months ago. Once the process becomes operational, the personal interaction between applicants and officials is expected to come down to the barest minimum.
Further, applicants will receive constant updates on the status of their applications through SMS on their registered mobile phone numbers.
This year, the CMDA granted planning permission for 266 projects under the residential special buildings category till August and gave the go-ahead for nearly 50 multi-storeyed buildings up to October.
The planning authority is implementing the online process in a phased manner. While the submission and processing of applications are covered in the first two phases, communicating to applicants through email is the third phase and sending details to other government agencies concerned forms the fourth phase.
Credai vice-president (Chennai chapter) S Sridharan said online scrutiny was the need of the hour. “It will considerably bring down the unnecessary delay,” he added. Others in the field say the sooner the entire process is made online the better.
Greater Chennai Corporation, whose officials handle approvals for smaller constructions such as stilt + two floors or ground floor plus first floor with 6 dwelling units, has already made the entire process online.
When contacted, a senior CMDA official said end-to-end requires automation among many things, which is not a one-time software. “We are committed and will do it,” the official replied to a query on whether poor cooperation from CMDA employees was hindering implementation of the online scrutiny of processing planning permissions.