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IT is Hot Property in Coimbatore

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  • Re : IT is Hot Property in Coimbatore

    Coimbatore civic body plans to pocket Rs 45 crore by regularising unapproved plots

    According to corporation’s town planning wing, there are 663 unapproved layouts in the city and 35,000 plots need to be regularizedTNN | March 24, 2018, 18:00 ISTW

    With a proposal to earn Rs 45 crore in the process, the city corporation plans to regularise 35,000 unapproved plots this year, bringing some cheer to the residents. The owners will be able to develop their plotsdespite it meant violating the government rules and norms.

    According to corporation’s town planning wing, there are 663 unapproved layouts in the city and 35,000 plots need to be regularized. An official in the town planning wing said, “After getting approval from the local planning authority (LPA), these plots will be regularised by the corporation. Residents will have to remit a sum of Rs 100 per square metre in the government account as regularisation charges and Rs 500 per sq m to the corporation as development charges.”

    This is as per the government order issued in October, 2017. For a 2,400 square feet plot, Rs 1,11,524 will have to be paid. The corporation will earn nearly Rs 45 crore as additional revenue from this.

    But activists said that this scheme was announced nearly six months ago and that the LPA was yet to speed up the process. “We had submitted our application nearly two months ago. I was told that the corporation officials will come and conduct the survey and give us the details of the amount to be remitted. But we have not received any communication,” said Krishnan, a resident.

    K Kathirmathiyon, an activist, said that only the town and country planning authority has the power to regularise plots. “Only the development charges will come to the corporation in this scheme. Once the regularisation process is completed, the corporation has to provide facilities such as street lights, drains, roads and improve the reserve sites which will only be an additional burden,” he said.

    Activists urged the civic body to be pro-active and enforce the laws. “Instead of this, the corporation should levy penalty on residents constructing without building plan and violate building norms. Illegal and unauthorized constructions can be identified and owners can be penalized which will provide them with income,” said Kathirmathiyon.

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    • Re : IT is Hot Property in Coimbatore

      Only 30% of Coimbatore households are installed with water meters

      TNN | Updated: Apr 7, 2018, 13:37 IST Representative image

      COIMBATORE: Though it was nearly four decades ago that the first water meters were installed in the city, the city corporation has so far covered only 30% of the households.

      The civic body claims to have provided a total of 2.70 lakh water connections in the old city area that covers 60 wards. Another 1.45 lakh connections were provided to the added areas in the last five years, corporation officials said. But, social activists and residents said that half of the meters are not functional.

      Currently, clerks of the civic body visit the other households and take an average of the quantum of water consumed over a few months and collect nominal charge. “Nobody knows the exact water consumption as it is not metered at all,” said a resident.

      As per the Government of India, the local bodies should meter the water and ensure that waste is reduced to 20%. “But currently, more than 40% of the water is getting leaked, which is a huge revenue loss to the government,” said an official.

      Not a single house in Cheran Maa Nagar — an added area in the city — has water meters, said NR Ravishankar, a resident. “We pay Rs 360 per year as water supply charges,” he said. If the civic body makes it mandatory, the residents would buy the meters themselves and install them, he said. “We are ready to invest in good water meters. But, the civic body needs to have an intent. Instead of them buying low-quality water meters that become dysfunctional within a few weeks, we are ready to spend our money on good quality meters,” he told TOI.

      A senior water supply engineer, however, contested these numbers and said nearly 70% of the city had been provided with water supply connections. “It is true that the water meters do not function. But the meters have been installed in the homes,” he said.

      But, activists said that though the 60 wards in old city have water meters, half of them are non-functional.

      Another engineer said that under the Vadavalli-Kavundampalayam Water Supply Scheme and the Added Areas Water Supply Improvement Scheme, more than eight added-areas will have an improved water supply distribution network and water meters will be installed. “In the city’s core area, under the 24x7 water supply scheme, smart meters will be installed,” said an official.

      The official also added that in the past two years, water meters were installed for every new water connection. “The numbers are definitely higher now,” said an official stating that at least 70% will be covered. Meanwhile, urban experts stressed that more than the metering of water consumption, water leakage has to be metered.

      “That is called non-revenue water. The entire water that is pumped gets leaked and more focus should be on stopping that. We have set up some pilot projects in Ramakrishnapuram tank and also in ward 73 to meter water leakage and water consumption. This will soon be extended to all wards,” said a senior official.

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      • Re : IT is Hot Property in Coimbatore

        Rally demands patta for forest dwellers in Gudalur, Pandalur

        TNN | Apr 10, 2018, 00:43 IST
        Udhagamandalam: Over 3,000 people from across Gudalur constituency took part in a rally demanding patta (revenue record required to prove legal ownership over a plot) for the forest dwellers in Gudalur and Pandalur taluks in Nilgiri district on Monday.

        The forest dwellers have been demanding patta over three decades, Tamil Nadu Congress committee president S Thirunavukarasu, who led the rally, said. “The government should immediately come forward to resolve the complexity of janmam land act and help the forest dwellers,” he said while speaking at a public meeting later. The government should also take proper measures to curtail man-animal conflict in Gudalur and Pandalur areas, he demanded.

        Earlier, Thirunavukarasu and other Congress functionaries observed a fast as part of a nation-wide protest called by Congress against the amendment made in the SC/ST act.

        In May 2014, bringing to an end one of the longest-fought legal wars in the high court that lasted over two decades, a division bench cancelled ‘patta’ given on the basis of specious documents and upheld denial of ‘patta’ for others, including planters, encroachers and corporate houses in janmam lands in Gudalur region. The case involved a large number of individuals and companies, including the Birla group, enjoying over 20,000 acres of land, demanding ‘ryotwari patta’ claiming that the lands were being cultivated by their predecessors and they were in continuous possession since purchase. Subsequently, they approached the Supreme Court challenging the HC verdict. The case is still pending.

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        • Re : IT is Hot Property in Coimbatore

          Land acquisition for Coimbatore airport again runs into trouble

          Pointing out that the Airport Authority of India had been using their 22.54 acres of land under lease for decades, PR Jaganathan, a land owner, said the compensation was fixed at Rs 1,500 per sqftTNN | April 09, 2018, 18:00 IST

          COIMBATORE: Land acquisition for the city airport expansion is likely to hit another roadblock with a section of land owners alleging that the district administration was trying to go back on the compensation amount fixed some nine months ago.

          “The government had fixed the rate for both the agricultural land and house sites, but didn’t provide the compensation. Now, the government is planning to revise the rates. It will definitely affect the land acquisition process,” the land owners said and added that they would approach the district administration officials on Monday.

          Pointing out that the Airport Authority of India had been using their 22.54 acres of land under lease for decades, PR Jaganathan, a land owner, said the compensation was fixed at Rs 1,500 per sqft as they had constructed buildings there for flight operations. “We agreed and gave the acceptance letter to the district revenue officer (airport land acquisition). Now, officials say they can treat the land as agriculture land and provide only Rs 900 per sqft,” he said, adding, “We will meet the collector and request him to provide the fixed compensation.”

          Meanwhile, Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam has lodged a petition with the collector, demanding a hefty compensation for each coconut tree to be felled for the project. “More than 1,000 coconut trees have be axed for the project. They are our livelihood and we want Rs 50,000 as compensation per tree,” said AK Shanmugam, state vice -resident, Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam.

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          • Re : IT is Hot Property in Coimbatore

            Dumping of debris along Valankulam continues

            Wilson Thomas
            COIMBATORE, APRIL 13, 2018 00:00 IST
            UPDATED: APRIL 13, 2018 03:45 IST

            Private ambulances are parked on the the sides of a link road connecting Tiruchi Road and Sungam-Ukkadam bypass in Coimbatore.S. SIVA SARAVANAN At some places, the tank has been levelled to park vehicles

            Dumping of debris continues on the link road connecting Tiruchi Road and Sungam bypass, encroaching portions of the Valankulam despite the issue having come to the knowledge of authorities.

            It looks like more areas are levelled on the road using debris dumped along the side of the road.

            At some places, the tank levelled by the miscreants is now wide enough to park lorries and other heavy vehicles on the roadside.

            Sanjay Prasad, chief coordinator of Environmentalist Foundation of India, said that the corporation recently removed debris from the place after the issue was taken to its attention. However, dumping continued a few days later.

            R. Manikandan of Kovai Kulangal Paathukaapu Amaipu said that authorities should set an example by identifying the offenders and imposing fine on them so that the practice can be controlled.

            “Though action against the offenders can be taken by authorities namely the Corporation, PWD and the police, there has been lethargic approach. The police seems unaware of various laws for the protection of wetlands under provisions of which offenders can be booked,” said Mr. Manikandan.

            Apart from dumping of construction debris, the tank is also facing threats in the form of littering plastic and other non-biodegradable waste into the water posing risk for various living organisms.

            “We found a coffin dumped in the lake during a cleaning drive conducted recently. Some of the people from the locality told us that coffin was dumped from an ambulance. Liquor bottles are also thrown into the water,” said Mr. Prasad.

            Mr. Manikandan said that sewage from Coimbatore Medical College Hospital is also released into the tank without treating it.

            Corporation Commissioner K. Vijayakarthikeyan said that the civic body is working on a long-term solution to control the menace which will be addressed once the processing plant for construction and demolition waste comes up at Ukkadam.

            He said that tenders have been floated for the development activities at Valankulam and Periyakulam under Smart City Project.

            The places reclaimed by dumping and levelling along the side of Valankulam road had turned to a parking lot for some of the private ambulance operators in the city.

            Those living in the locality allege that private ambulance operators are facilitating the dumping of debris at night as they are able to create parking space by levelling them.

            They shifted the fleet of private ambulances to the road after authorities cleared their parking space in front of Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH) some years ago.

            Though dead bodies are transported using the free hearse service of the Government, people depend on private ambulance when mortuary vans are unavailable.

            “We are forced to park ambulances here as there is no parking space available near CMCH or on Government Arts College Road. Our vehicles need to be located near hospitals to get some business,” said an ambulance driver who denied allegations of their role in levelling the debris. Apart from private ambulances, a stretch along the side of Sungam – Ukkadam bypass is occupied by trucks (used for cleaning septic tank), operators of which are accused of releasing waste into the lake.

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            • Re : IT is Hot Property in Coimbatore

              Police seize another truck smuggling Noyyal sand

              TNN | Apr 15, 2018, 00:30 IST
              Coimbatore: A day after city-based social activists blocked a truck carrying smuggled sand from the Noyyal riverbed, Perur police seized another such truck on Saturday.

              Police have arrested the driver, cleaner and a labourer. “We stopped the truck and arrested the men after receiving a tip-off. The seized truck was handed over to the Perur tahsildhar and the men were produced before the executive magistrate,” Perur deputy superintendent of police Velmurugan Arumugham said. In a Facebook post, the DSP has requested residents to inform him about sand smuggling.

              Easy access to the riverbed, support of politicians as well as police and revenue officials have made the Alandurai-Karunya-Madhuvarayapuram-Perur-Thondamuthur belt a hotspot for sand smuggling, activists say. The smugglers have dug up huge pits on the riverbed at Alandurai and neighbouring villages, TOI found on Saturday.

              Sakthivel of NGO Noyyal Nadhi Paadhugaapu Kuzhu said that this has been happening for over two decades. “Unless there is political will and the district administration takes a strong stand, this cannot be stopped,” he said.

              Another activist pointed out that the local police station was just 500m away from the river and it was quite impossible that the officers were ignorant about sand smuggling. “Donkeys and bullock carts are used to transport sand throughout the night when police are on patrol. Even if they miss, whenever we notice, we inform police. However, the officers often do not turn up and even let the drivers escape with the lorry in front of us,” an activist said.

              TOI is in possession of a video showing lorry owners boasting how they do the trade by bribing police officers.

              Meanwhile, police officers at Alandurai, Karunya and Perur police limits said they were extremely short-staffed. “We need evidence to prove the theft. Whenever we go there, their spies inform them after which they hide in the wilderness. We get to see only donkeys, bullock carts. So, we cannot register any case against them. Also, when we seize lorries, it becomes difficult to prove that they were used for selling sand,” said a police officer.

              State deputy secretary of Pattali Makkal Katchi Ashok Srinithi, against whom the city police had filed cases after he stopped a sand-laden lorry on Friday, said that they had already sent samples of the sand for testing.


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              • Re : IT is Hot Property in Coimbatore

                Noyyal sand carted away under cover of darkness

                TNN | Updated: Apr 16, 2018, 12:16 IST Representative Image

                Every day around 2am after ensuring that the last man awake in Alandurai too goes to sleep, dozens of bullock carts and donkeys march towards the Noyyal river bed.

                For the next two hours the river bed would buzz with action as dozens of men would start scooping sand and piling them up in sacks on donkeys. These sacks are later transferred to mini-trucks and trucks stationed outside the village and later transported to construction sites in and around Coimbatore district. Many of these trucks also travel to the neighboring districts.

                When the village wakes up all that would be left for them to see is the bullock cart tyre marks and a deepened river bed.

                As demand for sand in the state increases and after court ban on mining of sand from Cauvery, sand traders in the district have turned towards smaller rivers such as Noyyal. The public works department, mines department and the revenue department officials when contacted told TOI that they had not given any permission for sand mining in Noyyal. “What is happening is illegal,’’ said a revenue officer.

                “This has been happening here for more than two decades now. Earlier, sand was smuggled even during the day,” said Radha, an elderly woman in Alandurai. She added that the entire 12km stretch from Alandurai to Semmedu has been a hotspot. There is a spurt in quantum of smuggling, say activists.

                The donkeys and carts are owned by a few locals in the area who have formed a nexus with the sand truck owners. The locals are paid for smuggling the sand and the elderly turn informers to alert smugglers about movement of officials. State general secretary of farmers’ association P Kandasamy said the farmers in the area have raised this issue in several grievances meetings and had also given petitions to the district collector. “The collector only needs to take action,” he said.

                A few months ago, a farmer even assaulted one of the sand smugglers who was a repeated offender that created a stir in the village.

                Revenue inspector in Alandurai Rajendiran said, “We are aware of this and have taken various measures to curb it. We have dug trenches along river bank to stop bullock carts. We have also set up check posts and gates in three locations to stop the entry. But these gates were damaged and the locks were broken the very next day.” The officials also go on night patrolling on their two-wheelers.

                When caught, the villagers would claim that the sand was not for sale but for their houses being built under government scheme. “But once we seize their bullock carts, local politicians and sand truck owners come to pay the penalty,” said an official. Another official from the area said that they were extremely short-staffed. “Most of these smugglers are drunk and they are nearly 20 of them on the river bed. We cannot go alone and stop this. We need a team including police inspectors and at least a four-wheeler.”

                R Manikandan of Kovai Kulangal Paadhugaaapu Amaippu said that they have seen this happening near Kuniyamuthur also. “We are trying to create awareness among youngsters and create a team to stop this. Since locals are involved there is very little we can do,” he said.

                District collector T N Hariharan could not be reached for a comment.


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                • Re : IT is Hot Property in Coimbatore

                  Multi-level parking project hits roadblock

                  TNN | Updated: Apr 17, 2018, 12:11 IST
                  Representative Image

                  COIMBATORE: Looks like the much-hyped, much-delayed multi-level car parking projecthas hit a road block. While the city corporation had called for tenders in September 2017 to implement the project at Town Hall, Gandhipuram and D B Road, not a single bidder has come forward to execute it.

                  The project was announced in 2011 and had been delayed due to lack of funds. After finding no takers, the civic body officials came up with a new revenue model, according to which, the contractor was asked to fund the entire project and maintain it for 30 years. The contractor could make money from the parking fee and also rent out shops set up under the facilities. But, since the corporation wanted a revenue sharing model, none of the contractors came forward.

                  “We have discussed the issue with senior officials. We will change the revenue model and call for tenders again. We will have to fund the project and use the state government money to set it up,” corporation commissioner K Vijayakarthikeyan told TOI.

                  The multi-level car parking project was expected to de-congest the three main commercial roads in the city where parking on the road often caused congestion. As per the detailed project report, the parking lot was to be fully-automatic and accommodate two-wheelers and four-wheelers. As per the tentative design, it would have four levels — first two for two-wheelers and the top two floors for four-wheelers.

                  Officials said that commercial complexes were also planned to ensure the contractor got enough revenue from the rent and lease money to maintain and operate it. “But, contractors were skeptical as it will take several crores to set up. They were not sure if they could earn it back. A private-public-partnership in which there is investment by both the corporation and the contractor will be more suitable,” said a senior official, adding that they will work out the funding and call for fresh tenders again.


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                  • Re : IT is Hot Property in Coimbatore

                    Sand smuggling impacts environment

                    TNN | Updated: Apr 16, 2018, 12:15 IST
                    Representative Image

                    Rampant sand smuggling in the Noyyal has impacted the environment of the villages around Alandurai immensely. The groundwater level has dipped and flooding happens every time it rains heavily. The farmers are the most affected and they have continuously petitioned the district collector regarding the issue.

                    Also, lack of stringent laws and inadequate manpower in government departments has dissuaded locals from filing cases. “The police can book these repeat offenders under Goondas Act which will deter the locals from indulging in the crime. But the police have also formed a nexus with them,” alleged K P Palanisamy, retired deputy director, agriculture department, and a farmer in Alandurai.

                    In Alandurai, eight bullock carts, six trucks, including four mini-trucks, and one earthmover have been seized in the past two years. But the extent of sand smuggling is much bigger. Every day, dozens of bullock carts, two wheelers, donkeys and even cars are deployed to transport the sand sacks to trucks. Every day, at least 100 tonnes of sand is smuggled.

                    Officials said this cannot be stopped without a dedicated team in place. “There is no doubt that local politicians, district administration officials and the police are aware of what is going on. Lack of intent and will to take action will lead to losing another river in the district. Kousika River has already vanished. The Noyyal is on the brink of its death and if we continue to allow this, there will not be any river in the future,” said a farmer in Alandurai. He also alleged that the local men often bribed the policemen to smuggle sand.

                    Whenever the bullock carts or trucks are seized, politicians and sand truck owners come forward to pay the penalty. “The locals only struggle for a month. Again, after a few weeks, they start the same routine. We need the police officials to take stringent action against the smugglers and the district administration should enforce stricter norms,” said a local.

                    Unless villagers are sensitized about the various disadvantages of sand smuggling, this cannot be stopped, said Mahesh, a shopkeeper in Alandurai. “If there is a flood, this village will be worst affected,” he said.


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                    • Re : IT is Hot Property in Coimbatore

                      Shops built on encroached temple land in Hosur, alleges activist

                      tnn | Apr 21, 2018, 00:53 IST
                      Krishnagiri: A piece of land that belongs to the HR&CE-run Sri Sankara Narayana Swamy temple in Hosur, Krishnagiri district, has been encroached upon and two shops built there. The Hosur Thasildar has confirmed that the shops are built on temple land as per records.

                      Founder-president of the Tiruthoundargal Sabai A Radhakrishnan alleged that a man constructed the shops about 15 years ago. “Those shops have been let out, but this information is not mentioned in the temple records,” he said.

                      One K R Radhakrishnan of Hosur has been using the shops to stock rice bags for more than five years.

                      A Radhakrishnan said the encroachers had demolished a portion of the temple to construct the structure without getting consent from HR&CE officials.

                      However, the rice go-down owner K R Radhakrishnan said HR&CE officials very well knew about the shops. “I used to give the rent to a person who approached me. I don’t know who he is and where he is from,” he said.

                      Vignesh Sharma, son of the temple priest, said the shops were constructed after getting consent from HR&CE officials. Asked about the consent letter obtained from the department, he said he did not have it.

                      When contacted by TOI, executive officer of the temple P Rajarathinam said he did not know about the illegal construction. The HR&CE was receiving Rs 665 as rent from the shop owner. “My predecessors allowed the construction and I do not know whether it is illegal or not,” he said. He said he had sent a letter to the shop owner asking him to increase the rent at least to Rs.4,000.

                      Hosur thasildar V Bandarinathan confirmed that both shops were constructed on the temple land as per records. “I have sent a report to the Salem joint commissioner of HR&CE T Varadharajan to initiate departmental inquiry in this issue,” he said. He also directed the joint commissioner to send his report to the Krishnagiri district administration on or before April 28.


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