The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has ordered notice to the State government in a public interest litigation petition filed by the Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry seeking direction to periodically review the Madurai Master Plan.
A Division Bench of Justices T.S. Sivagnanam and S. Ananthi ordered notice and sought the response from the State government in the petition filed by N. Jegatheesan, president of the chamber.
The main objective of the Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act, 1971 was to maintain transparency in the development and usage of lands. A master plan was prepared for towns and cities laying emphasis on the zoning regulations for the judicious use of land, he said.
The master plan was a key development plan to provide land use allotment and under Section 32(2)(b) of the Act, the master plan must be reviewed after conducting the necessary survey once in every five years, he said. The petitioner complained the government had not granted approval for review of the master plan for the past 15 years and the authorities were still using the master plan drawn 26 years ago. The classification and usage of land had completely changed during this period.
He said that as per the existing master plan, most of the lands were classified as agricultural land. The public had to run to the government offices seeking change of land use. They had to submit a separate application before filing an application for building plan permission. Each application for change of classification of land had to be forwarded to the government and notified. The process was a burden on the government officials and also made the public run from pillar to post to get an approval for the construction of a building.
This affected the commercial and industrial growth of the region as none would show interest in investing in a place/region where there were such difficulties. Therefore, the government should periodically review the Madurai Master Plan in consonance with the Act, he said.
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