In the last 21 months, there is probably no plot owner from panchayats that are covered under the Hill Area Conservation Authority (HACA) regulations in Coimbatore who has successfully obtained regularisation.
After applying to their respective panchayat – there are 35 covered under HACA – the plot owners continue to wait for approval because the district offices of four departments that are to issue no-objection certificate (NOC) for regularisation have reportedly issued none.
The president of a HACA-covered panchayat said the village body had sent letters seeking NOC to all the four departments – Revenue, Agriculture Engineering, Geology and Mining, and Forest – and had not got approval from anyone.
The panchayats covered under HACA are supposed to send details of unapproved layouts to the four departments, obtain the NOC and then apply to the Local Planning Authority for approval. The LPA approves the layout applications and sends it back to the panchayats. And, based on the approval that the panchayats regularise the plots in the layouts.
The State government came out with an order in March 2020 detailing guidelines for regularisation of plots in HACA-covered panchayats. It asked the plot owners to apply to the respective panchayats.
A few panchayat presidents The Hindu spoke to said that since March 2020 they had knocked on the four departments’ doors without any positive result. The presidents said in their estimate there should be at least 10,000 such plots in Coimbatore that awaited regularisation.
Collector G.S. Sameeran said the district administration was aware of the problems as well as a few instances of irregular regularisation. It was a complicated issue, which the administration was trying to resolve.
Meanwhile, the panchayats had also taken the problem to the notice of the Housing and Urban Development Minister S. Muthusamy, who had also promised to look into it.
Consumer activist K. Kathirmathiyon said the officials of the four departments in the district appeared to be insensitive to the plot owners’ sufferings. Though the panchayats sought the NOC, it was the plot owners who stood to lose. The government should bring in changes so that if the four departments failed to issue NOC within a specified time, it should be construed as having given NOC. Further, the approach of these officials to the regularisation issue seemed to undo the good the government tried to do through the order last year.
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