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- Corporation reclaims land worth Rs 236 crore since November last TNN | Updated: Mar 13, 2017, 10.43 AM IST
COIMBATORE: The city corporation has removed encroachments from 22.7 acres of land in the past five months. According to civic body officials, the value of the reclaimed land, which includes 64 sites, is worth Rs 236 crore. These sites were identified every weekend and the encroachments were removed by the civic body's town planning wing. The civic body is expected to hand over these sites to the volunteering NGOs to maintain them.
"We first identified park sites, roadsides and other corporation lands that had been encroached over the past several years. Every weekend, we take out a drive to remove the encroachments. We are hopeful of clearing all the encroachments very soon," said Sasipriya, town planning officer.
This weekend, encroachments were removed from Vallalar Nagar, EKG Nagar, Chinnasamy Road and Dr Nanjappa Nagar. Nearly 65 cents of land worth Rs 5 crore was reclaimed in two days. "We were given instructions to remove encroachments every weekend. And since November, 2016, we had been implementing the same," Sasipriya said.
The officials said the reclaimed park sites would be handed over to interested volunteers, NGOs and corporates for maintenance. NGOs and corporates would be allowed to set up billboards on these sites. "There are more than thousand undeveloped sites. The civic body doesn't have funds to spend on maintaining all the parks on its own," said a corporation engineer.
The civic body, Sasipriya said, had already passed a resolution to hand over these sites to NGOs, but the response was lukewarm. "We will provide electricity and water, besides taking up some repair works. The NGOs will have to maintain the parks and check for overgrowth and appoint a watchman," she further said.
A lion's share of encroachments was removed from the West zone, from where we reclaimed 21 sites. And from north zone we removed encroachments from 15 sites. In all these locations, encroachers were given prior notice, officials said.
Since, November last, the civic body has removed encroachments from 22.71 acres of land, the value of which is estimated at Rs 236 crore.
Activists, however, pointed that the civic body had been removing only small tinned roof buildings that too from undisputed areas. "There are several park sites from where the high court has directed the civic body to clear encroachments. But fearing political pressure, many such sites have not been cleared. There are also park sites where the civic body has not put up boards," said S P Thiyagarajan, an activist.
He also lamented that no steps were taken to ensure that these sites were not encroached again. "Boards should be set up and fences should be erected in all these sites," he added.
- ‘Namma Ooty’ to toil for a clean, green hill town Shanta Thiagarajan| TNN | Updated: Mar 15, 2017, 06.05 PM IST
UDHAGAMANDALAM: In the absence of a strong citizen's forum, civic issues such as garbage management, drainage, roads and public toilets have always been neglected in Ooty town.
Concerned about such unaddressed issues, Shobana Chandrasekar, a local resident, has launched an initiative to involve all the stakeholders in the town to come up with solutions. She has formed a volunteer group involving over 31 organisations, which will work under the banner of 'Namma Ooty'.
The group has decided to clean up one of the worst maintained areas in Ooty. The members will also meet municipal authorities demanding implementation of door-to-door collection of garbage to make the hill town clean.
It began with a couple of meetings with the stakeholders, who turned up in good numbers in the last two days, Shobana told TOI. "As many as 31 associations in Ooty responded to the invite and attended the informal meeting. It had participants from associations of travel agents, maxi cab owners, tourist taxi owners, merchants and the Ooty Jewelers Association. We plan to form a strong forum to find and implement solutions for the problems in Ooty," she said.
Though several civic issues were discussed in the meeting, the garbage issue received the most attention. "Waste generated from households and hotels is currently not segregate and wet waste ends up in bins. As a result, stray animals are attracted to such places. Though door-to-door collection of garbage is mandatory here, it is not enforced," she said.
The volunteers of the group, who visited ward I and II located at Finger Post area on Monday, found that workers of Ooty municipality doesn't reach there. "The areas have not even a single garbage bin. Also, open defecation is the norm, with very few houses having toilets. We found that garbage is thrown into the forest area. Hence, we want to start cleaning work from ward I and II," Shobana said.
Mass cleaning conducted by the municipality in theses wards once in a while is ineffectual, she said. "Garbage is set on fire, causing generation of toxic smoke. Waste should not be seen as a problem but as a solution. We plan to create wealth from waste," she added.
Agrees Shadiq Basha, treasurer of the Nilgiri Tourist Taxi Association. "Creating a strong collective to fight for a clean Ooty is a great move. We will extend our full support to the move. More stakeholders, including women self-help groups, should join them to make it stronger," he said.
The group intends to meet the Ooty municipality officials with a proper proposal soon.
- Home buyers stage protest against Daksha Property Developers in Coimbatore The members of the association also staged a road roko in front of the collectorate demanding action against the developer.TNN | March 28, 2017, 17:00 IST
COIMBATORE: About 100 residents of Daksha Vriddha on Marudhamalai Road, under the banner of Vriddha Owners Welfare Association, petitioned the district collector on Monday demanding action against Daksha Property Developers India Pvt Ltd. The developer violated an agreement signed with the Coimbatore corporation to provide some of the apartments to economically weaker sections by selling them to its clients, they alleged.
The members of the association also staged a road roko in front of the collectorate demanding action against the developer. "The developer had signed a contract with the Coimbatore corporation to provide 10% of the single-bedroom apartments to people from economically weaker sections. Instead, they converted them to two-bedroom apartments and sold them to us," S Sudarshan, owner of such an apartment, told TOI.
Though the residents raised the issue with the district administration, they did not receive an answer, said Sudarshan. "The district collector has initiated an inquiry into the matter," he said.
Daksha is also not willing to handover the maintenance and corpus funds to residents despite having completed the project in 2014, the residents alleged. Meanwhile, M Ganesh, a spokesperson for Daksha, said, "The association was not elected in a fair manner. We have received communication from other residents not to handover the maintenance to them."
He also refuted the allegation that the real estate company is charging 10% service charge on the electricity charges and maintenance of the property. "We are charging extra to pay salaries to the people, who carry out the maintenance work," said Ganesh.
- Residents say they get water once in 25 days Komal Gautham| TNN | Apr 18, 2017, 07.37 PM IST
COIMBATORE: Residents of Kurichi petitioned the Coimbatore city corporation commissioner stating that they are receiving drinking water supply only once in 25 days.
They said when their area was a municipality, their situation was good as they received water once in four-five days.
"Only after the civic body added us into their purview, we are facing such huge water supply shortage," said N Prabhakaran, former DMK councillor. He added that several areas in the city received water once in 10-12 days and some even received once in six days.
"Why is it that wards from 96 to 100 near Podanur, Kurichi and Kuniyamuthur face such huge water shortage? We also want water supply every week," said a resident. They added that apart from this, borewell water was also provided only once in three days.
"It is very difficult for us to manage as we do not have water even for washing and bathing," said a resident. Commissioner K Vijayakarthikeyan said he had instructed officials to resolve the issue and regularise water supply in these wards. The area received water supply from Aliyar, Pillur and Siruvani schemes.
Apart from this, they also complained about the garbage disposal issue in the area and alleged that corporation officials did not visit the wards to collect waste from door to door. The roads and common places were also in a bad state leading to the cause of various diseases.
- Houses newly built by govt develop cracks, crumbling TNN | Jun 8, 2017, 07.42 AM IST
Coimbatore: Houses newly built by the slum clearance board at Vellalore have developed cracks, shocking residents. As many as 1,293 people, living in makeshift dwellings and encroachments for years were allotted houses in the slum clearance board-built apartments. But the residents are in shock as the new tenements have developed cracks and in some houses the windows are broken.
One of the residents who visited the house allotted to him was shocked to find the florring in the bathroom was extremely brittle. "I just tapped it and it cracked . The windows were broken, and in almost all the houses, they could not be closed," he said.
Gowri, another resident, said she was shocked to find huge cracks on the walls of the buildings when she visited a few days ago. "The department has patched up in several places and painted the building again. But in many locations, we still could see the cracks. We are a little worried to come and stay here," she said.
Kaliammal said that in her home, the flooring was neat but the windows were bent and could not be closed. "They were tied and kept. We are hopeful that they will repair all this before they hand it over to us," she said.
The workers at the apartment said that three contractors were responsible for the construction. A model house was constructed, but one of the workers said other houses were not even close to the model one. "How can we expect quality from government buildings," he asked. Official of the slum clearance board said that the houses were ready but some civil work was pending.
"We have painted just one coat of paint. Once they pay Rs 36,000 and get No objection certificate from the electricity department, we will do wiring and paint the house one more time. We will also do patch up work based on the complaints," he said.
- 269 trees to be axed for road widening TNN | Jun 21, 2017, 09.11 AM IST
COIMBATORE: After the Pollachi highway lost its greenery following the chopping down of nearly 2,000 trees, it is now the turn of the Mettupalayam Road where the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) plans to axe 269 fully grown trees in three stretches that were identified as accident-prone.
NHAI officials, however, said that for each tree cut down, 10 saplings will be planted and maintained by the department. "We are yet to finalise the location, but will plant them soon," said an official.
The project, estimated to cost Rs 26.5 crore, is funded by the government under the road safety fund. It will be completed by March, 2018.
"The first phase of the project will include three locations in a 5km stretch. Nearly 250 trees need to be cut down from the Gas company in Periyanaickenpalayam to Thekkupalayam pirivu, a distance of 1.5km. In this section, the four-lane road will be 36.5m wide and it will have service roads. The civil work for this stretch is estimated at Rs 13cr," said an official from NHAI.
The second stretch will be between VG hospital near Vishwanathapuram and the police station. "The cost of this project is Rs 7.75cr and the 1.5km stretch will be widened," said the official. The third location is the Mathampalayam area from Kottaipirivu junction near Chinnamathampalayam to Thaneer Pandhal road, a distance of 2km, and the estimated cost is Rs 5.8cr. In the second and third stretches, a total of 19 trees will be chopped.
"Since most of the trees on the Mettupalayam road are tamarind trees, they cannot be transplanted and there is no other option but to cut them," said the official. He said three neem trees along the VG Hospital and Thanneer Pandhal road can be transplanted. "We will approach the concerned people and transplant those trees," he said.
Consumer activists in the city said that as per a court order, the highways department is supposed to replant trees on the edges of the road when the project commences. "We understand that trees need to be cut down for widening the road but they should be replanted. Norms should be followed and the planting should begin when the project begins so that by the time the project ends, the trees would have grown to a certain height," said K Kathirmathiyon, secretary of Coimbatore Consumer Cause. Apart from the three locations, Saibaba Kovil bus stop, Sarvanampatty junction and Ondipudur rail over bridge area have been identified as accident-prone zones.
"The project along these locations will be taken up later," said the official.
- Coimbatore: Slum clearance board delays allotting homes for Jeeva Nagar encroachers As per the records, the 1km stretch is part of a 70-feet link road that was designated as a cart roadKomal Gautham | TNN | Updated: July 13, 2017, 17:39 IST
COIMBATORE: With just a week to go to abide by a high court order directing the district collector and the Coimbatore Corporation to remove 203 encroachments from a 70-feet link road in Jeeva Nagar, the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board is yet to allot them homes. Members of the residential welfare association who had filed the case in 2011 said that they would soon file a contempt petition if the officials did not take action.
As per the records, the 1km stretch is part of a 70-feet link road that was designated as a cart road. The encroachment in the area began in 1980 and since then nearly 203 houses have been constructed. Slowly, their kin have also constructed homes in the same area increasing the number.
The area is now buzzing with schools, layouts, shops and workshops. With one of the widest roads being encroached, residents said that it was difficult for emergency services to enter the area. "Even if someone requires an ambulance or a fire engine, it will be extremely difficult for us as none of these services can enter as all the roads leading to this area are narrow and not more than 10-foot wide. Moreover, no one has the right to encroach upon roads that are public property," said V Damodar, president of the K K Pudur Welfare Association.
Corporation commissioner K Vijayakarthikeyan when contacted said that they had completed the process of getting bio-metric and finger prints of beneficiaries. The list has been handed over to the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) officials. He added that the TNSCB had to allot them homes. "Only after the homes were allotted, can the eviction process begin," he said.
The superintendent engineer of TNSCB, Rajashekar told TOI that the list was handed over to them only on July 7. "The list was verified and sent to the senior officials of the department. As per the court order, the corporation has to evict the families. We have the housing unit in Keeranatham ready and once the eviction date is finalized, homes will be handed over to the beneficiaries," he said.Treasurer of the Jeeva Nagar Residential Welfare Association R Rajamani said that they would appeal against the high court order in the Supreme Court. "This road was never in use. The residential welfare associations and the school who petitioned the court on our eviction came several years after we settled here. Moreover, Indira Nagar residents who had also encroached were allotted patta. Former collector had also ordered the same for us but the court order is against us," she said. TNSCB held a meeting recently with the encroachers and half of them had agreed for resettlement.
- Owners of land marked for acquisition approach MLA TNN | Aug 3, 2017, 12:45 AM IST
Coimbatore: About 100 people, whose land have been marked for acquisition for the expansion of the Coimbatore airport, met Singanallur MLA N Karthik demanding a final decision on land price.
S Bharathi, a resident of Uppilipalayam, said her house, on a three-cent plot, has been marked for acquisition. "They placed a guideline value ceiling on the land in 2012 but are offering to pay only twice the guideline value fixed in 1997," she said. "At least if they had decided then and there, taken the land and immediately paid the compensation, we could have bought another piece of land. Five years later, property prices have further gone up," she told TOI.
"The land's value is Rs 8 lakh per cent, but they are offering us Rs 4.24 lakh, twice the guideline value. The amount will undergo IT deduction and only 80% of the remaining will be given to us immediately. With that amount, we can not buy another plot anywhere in the city," she said.
Jothi Kanagar, a resident of Gandhinagar, who shares a compound wall with the airport, said land is sold at neighbouring MGR Nagar for Rs 8 lakh per cent. "But the government is offering us Rs 5 lakh a cent. There is no place in the neighbourhood to buy land either, and we can't live in a forest or on a hill and need an alternate land within the corporation limit. They should either pay us Rs 12 lakh per cent, which is required to buy an alternate property in the city, or give us an alternate land," she demanded.
Others too said the government should pay at least 75% of the market value in one-time settlement. "They are offering us less than 50% of the market value and even that will be deducted after tax," said N Manickam, a resident of Irugur. " Many of are now stuck with land that we can not sell or pledge," he added.
- CMC Colony residents up in arms against relocation TNN | Updated: Aug 22, 2017, 12:39 AM IST Coimbatore: Residents of CMC Colony, which is primarily occupied by conservancy workers of the Coimbatore corporation, approached the district collector on Monday and protested against the eviction notices served by the slum clearance board. They are not willing to shift to the slum tenements in Vellalore and want new houses in the colony, they said in a petition.
As many as 450 families have been residing in CMC Colony for the last two decades, the protesters said. "On August 18, the residents got a notice with a token number, ration card holder's name and father's name directing them to move by the month-end and pay Rs 36,000 to be allotted a house. However, the letter lacked the Tamil Nadu Resettlement Board's letterhead or an official signature," said advocate E Pugazhendhi.
The shifting will affect their children's education as many are attending local schools, the petition said. "They want us to move to tenements in Vellalore, which is far away. Moreover, the apartments are close to the dumpyard. It is well-known that people living near the dumpyard suffer from skin ailments, breathing problems and have to cope with flies," said Pugazhendhi.
"Also, how can they arrange Rs 36,000, as the month is almost over?" he asked.
- 630 houses demolished in Coimbatore in drive against encroachments Around 630 encroaching houses in five locations in the city were demolished by the city municipal corporation with the support of the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board and the city police department.TNN | September 13, 2017, 18:30 IST
COIMBATORE: Jamila looked on helplessly as the house where she lived for over 40 years was demolished on Tuesday. "When I got married I came to this house. I am very sad that it has been razed down," said the 45-year-old woman. K M Naseer, another resident, was equally emotional. "We settled here 72 years ago. If Hindus and Muslims lived in harmony, it was in this place. We have a temple and a masjid close to each other and we celebrated one another's festivals with fervour," said Naseer.
Around 630 encroaching houses in five locations in the city were demolished by the city municipal corporation with the support of the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board and the city police department. This was part of a drive to remove all encroachments in the city. "We have shortlisted 1,418 houses in 18 locations in the city. We have allotted homes to all of them and have disconnected their sewage and electricity connections. This is the first phase. In a few days, the remaining houses will also be demolished," said town planning officer, Coimbatore corporation, Ravichandran.
On Tuesday alone, 377 houses located at Anaimedu near Athupalam, 66 houses in Muthu Colony, 75 houses at Cheran Nagar and 45 houses at Azad Nagar were demolished and the occupants evicted. "After the demolition, we will clear the debris and widen the canals of the Noyyal river to ensure that water flows to the Kurichi and Vellalore tanks," said a slum clearance board official. He added that farmers had been petitioning the collector for the past decade, requesting them to remove the encroachments so that water could flow through the canals and reach the Vellalore tank.
Farmers in Vellalore rejoiced the move. R Ganesh, a farmer who was not been able to tap water even after digging 30 borewells, said the region has seen a serious decline in not just farming but also the water level in the past 15 years. "Right now, even at 1,200 feet, ground water is not available. This land was the most productive in the district and all kinds of vegetables were once grown and exported from here," he said. But encroachments near the Rajavaikal at Athupalam clogged all entry points for water and it had been more than 10 years since they received water from the Noyyal.
- Tamil Nadu to acquire 450 acres of land for Coimbatore airport The acquisition would spread across regions like Uppillipalayam, Chinniyamapalayam and Singanallur and would be completed by December end.Adarsh Jain | TNN | November 04, 2017, 16:00 IST
COIMBATORE: The Coimbatore district administration has initiated steps to acquire about 450 acres to expand the city airport and has proposed to give a compensation of Rs 1,500 per sq ft for residential land and Rs 900 per sq ft for agricultural land. An additional Rs 1,500 per sq ft will be provided for buildings. The acquisition would spread across regions like Uppillipalayam, Chinniyamapalayam and Singanallur and would be completed by December end, said sources.
Chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, earlier this week, had urged land owners to cooperate with the administration to speed up the acquisition process for expansion of the international airport to facilitate operation of bigger aircraft.
This is the first major land acquisition taking place for an infrastructure project in the state after the new land acquisition legislation was passed in 2013. While the norms prescribe two times the market value of land in urban areas -which is the case with Coimbatore airport -what is being offered by the administration as compensation to land owners is not even half of the market value. The guideline value of agricultural land in the region is just Rs 35,000 per cent and for residential land it is Rs 65,000 per cent. However, the market values are Rs 8 lakh and Rs14 lakh per cent respectively, say sources in the realty sector. The state government has been trying for acquisition of additional land for the past 10 years, but has not been able to make any headway.
The district administration has fixed the acquisition price after a recent interaction with residents, industrialists and farmers of the area. “We need a white paper on the price. Nearly 70% of the land is empty or agricultural land,“ said Vijay Vikraman, an industrialist. He added that the price fixed for residential land was far too low and not acceptable.
How could people accept Rs 1,500 per sq ft for a house when the cost of construction is more than Rs 2,000 per sq ft? Also, who would bear the rent for about two years that a person would take to construct a new house, asked Vijay.
P R Jagannathan, a resident of Singanallur, said that district collector T N Hariharan had communicated to them that a committee from Chennai would visit the land owners to finalise the price.
Director of Coimbatore International Airport, R Mahalingam, said, “We wish that the land acquisition is completed at the earliest. Even if 100 acres are acquired, we can initiate work on the construction of the new building“. He added, “We have asked for 600 acres, but we will get anything between 300 and 600 acres. As of now, the Centre has allocated Rs 1,000 crore for the building, and details of the design will be known only when we get to know the extent of land that will be provided“.
The additional land will help extension of the existing runway, facilitating landing of larger aircraft like Boeing 787. The present area of the airport is 300 acres. The present runway is 2,970 metres long and it is likely to be extended to 3,800 metres. Moreover, new taxiway will be laid.At present, there are three international flights operating out of Coimbatore Interna tional Airport. Another important criterion for international carriers to land in an airport is availability of 75 m space on either side of the runway. Smaller cities like Madurai and Trichy are also expanding their airports.While Madurai has 615 acres, Trichy has 750 acres at present. In comparison, Chennai airport has close to 1,500 acres and is in the process of acquiring another 200 acres.
With the announcement of Air India Express' new flight to Singapore from Delhi via Coimbatore, the number of operations has reached its maximum. Soon, a private airline is expected to operate an additional flight from Coimbatore to Bengaluru while Air India will begin its operations from the city to Bengaluru in December.
- Eviction at AD Colony put off after villagers protest TNN | Updated: Nov 18, 2017, 00:39 IST Tirupur: Despite protest from the villagers, the district administration started eviction works at AD Colony in Velayuthampalayam on Friday.
However, the administration removed only a shed erected in front of a temple and went back on its decision to evict 10 houses which were allegedly built on poramboke land.
Recently, Samalapuram panchayat authorities issued notices to the encroachers to vacate their houses. But the villagers petitioned the district collector to nullify the notices claiming ownership for the lands.
But when the revenue officials inspected the encroached areas at AD Colony, they found that about 10 houses and a portion of Arulmighu Pattatharasiamman temple, which was built by the villagers, were built on natham poramboke lands.
Following the inspection, the owners of the 10 houses sought 15 days' time to vacate. But the revenue officials gave them only three days. Though the given time ended on Friday, the 10 families remained without vacating the houses.. So, the officials brought an earthmover to the encroached houses with police protection.
But still, the villagers staged a protest in front of Arulmighu Pattatharasiamman temple against the eviction. Officials led by Palladam tahsildar Subramanian held talks with the protesters, said police sources.
As the protest continued, the revenue officials removed only the shed erected in front of the temple and put off the eviction drive. Subsequently, the villagers called off the protest and dispersed from the spot, said the police.
"Many of us are daily wagers and despite our poor financial conditions, we have constructed the houses by borrowing money. If the houses were razed, it would be hard for us to recover the loss. It was unfair that the revenue officials are coming after us," said a villager.
When contated by TOI , a higher revenue official said, "Encroachments have taken place in the area. As of now, we removed only the shed of the temple. We are yet to decide on the further course of action."
- 2 buildings constructed in Ooty by flouting rules TNN | Updated: Nov 22, 2017, 01:05 IST Udhagamandalam: By flouting rules, a few building constructions are underway at Kethorai village in Ketti town panchayat in the Nilgiris district. While construction of only two floors (7 metres high) is permissible in the district, three-storey buildings are being constructed in the village.
When contacted, executive officer of Ketti town panchayat Natarajan told TOI, "There are two upcoming buildings near Kethorai village, each with a built up area of 3,000 sq feet. The sanction was granted by the assistant director, Town and Country Planning, Coimbatore region."
Natarajan said the authorities gave sanction for the building constructions on August 8, 2017.
However, district collector J Innocent Divya denied receiving applications seeking sanctions for the above-said buildings. "No application for building license for over 3,000 sq feet near Kethorai village has come to my notice in the past four months. We will order for an inspection of the site. If found illegal, action will be taken immediately."
As per rules, a panchayat president or an executive officer could sanction building license up to a built up area of 1,500 sq feet. Permission could be granted for 2,500 sq feet after the forest, agri-engineering and the geo-tech departments' officials inspect and issue NOC.
However, with the introduction of district committee for building approval, executive officers or panchayats are no more the sole authorities to grant building licenses.
Moreover, applications for over and above 2,500 sq feet should reach the Architectural and Aesthetics Aspects (AAA) Committee for approval after ground level formalities.
"The huge structures underway with three-storey on a hillock near Kethorai village are environmental disasters. The district administration should take stock of the construction activities falling under the Ketti town panchayat immediately," a resident in the village said.
Granting building licenses has been made online and the district committee is the sole authority to sanction building license irrespective of the place falling under municipality or panchayat in the district.
- Tamil Nadu govt draws flak for delaying Smart City projects COIMBATORE: The special purpose vehicles, formed under the Smart City Missionto implement projects, lacks decision making powers in Tamil Nadu. As per the Smart City Mission guidelines, SPVs should function independently from the government and implement the project. But the SPV formed by the Coimbatore Corporation can neither sanction bigger projects nor approve proposals. Delay in getting a nod from the state government and hindrance from the political heads have delayed the projects, an official said.
“As per the smart city mission guidelines, the board of directors of SPV should be entitled with power to take independent decisions. But the Tamil Nadu government has passed an order stating that only projects below Rs 6 crore can be sanctioned by the commissioner of municipal administration. For projects above this estimate, sanctions need to be obtained from various departments and the state high power committee. That delays the project,” said a senior corporation official.
An official said it took them a year to get approval for some projects. “There is no independence. It becomes difficult to implement every project when we have to run from pillar to post for approvals and sanctions,” said the official, adding that Surat and Pune were higher ranked as they worked independently.
The Coimbatore Corporation has not even appointed an independent chief executive officer and independent board of directors in the SPV. “We have sent recommendations to the state government and await approval,” said an official. Regarding the CEO post that was created mainly so that political interference is avoided, the politicians tried to employ their relatives to run the show. After that was stopped after a social media campaign, the officials said that the city corporation commissioner would function as CEO. The post remains with him and will become vacant once he gets transferred. “If the SPV has not been established as per norms, it is difficult to monitor projects for a period of five years and ensure they are continued for the coming years,” said an activist.
A senior official at the state government said that the issue of government nod was raised by the ministry of housing and urban affairs as well in the meetings.
“He has promised to write to the state governments to ensure that the SPVs were empowered to take independent decisions. The SPV is supposed to work independently without the interference of the state government. The matter is under discussion and we expect new guidelines and clarifications on this matter soon,” said the official.
- Blackstone shelves plan to acquire Brookefields mall in Coimbatore COIMBATORE: Global private equity (PE) giant Blackstonehas shelved its plan to buy the Brookefields mall, the first such property to open in the city. Blackstone had signed a term sheet with the current owners of the mall including N Radhakrishnan, managing director of Chennai-based Tarapore Constructions and M Balasubramaniam, director of Mangal Tirth Estate, which owns the Spencer Plaza mall in Chennai, to acquire the mall in late 2016.
The deal, which was in the final stages of negotiations, was pegged at Rs 450 crore. If it had gone through, it would have been the biggest property deal in the city in the commercial realty space. “The deal fell through because of some misunderstandings on the financial front in the last leg. Blackstone has shelved the plan to buy the mall as they were not able to come to an agreement with the owners,” sources said.
The current owners of the mall were looking to sell to cut down their debt that was pegged at around Rs 125 crore, sources said. Since the owners were able to bring down the debt to manageable levels due to the increase in cash flows from projects, they decided not to exit the mall. “They (current owners) do not need the money now,” sources said.
New York-based Blackstone Group LP, the largest PE manager in the world with assets under management of over $350 billion across the globe, declined to comment about the deal.