Unauthorised Buildings – Conspiracy between Builders, Owners & CMDA

When the giving stops, so does the taking.

We all woke up to the news about Chennai Silks building burning down to ashes and the media going nuts pointing fingers at various government departments for allowing such a huge building without proper regulation, be it CMDA or the fire department or any other department. This would be a trending topic for the next few days before we jump into another issue. No one points the finger at themselves for being the silent party/spectator to the offence. If only we had the brains to boycott such businesses who do not respect the law, we would have had a better place. Not to mention the Govt authorities who are a mute spectator to the entire drama.

I recently bought a flat with India Builders, allegedly one of the leading builders in Chennai. There are a total of 6 flats, out of which 5 belong to the land owners with whom the builder is doing a joint venture and am the only soul from outside. Sometime earlier this year, it came to my knowledge that the builder has plans to carry out some unauthorized construction on the flat in the third floor and some deviations.

I raised this issue and concern with the Director of India Builders – Mr.Uttam Kumar who brushed it off as a minor deviation and that there should be no issues with the CMDA as they are taken care off. It was shocking when I was informed by him that it is not necessary for him to inform me as a flat buyer about the unauthorized constructions or deviations and went to the extent of promising me a written undertaking that no issues will be raised by CMDA. (I knew then that this is not coming anytime – Thanks to the law degree)

Since the day I raised the issue, they started to delay the work in my flat and as much as possible create complications even for the simplest of the matters. I was closely monitoring the work carried out in the building and there was nothing unusual. I had an opportunity to meet the other Director of India Builders Mr.Thambikalaignan sometime in March if my memory serves me right and I once again expressed my concern that I do not want any unauthorized constructions or deviations in the building. I was only reassured that they have done several buildings and have never faced any issue from CMDA. Neither did I receive an undertaking from India Builders. Meanwhile, I continued to keep a look out for any unauthorized constructions and there was none. On March 30, 2017 we received the completion certificate from CMDA.

On April 4, I heard sounds from the third floor and upon inspecting, I was shocked to see that they were demolishing a wall and the parapet wall of the open terrace area. As per the approved plan there were two open terrace areas. However, after getting the completion certificates, the walls were demolished to include the open terrace areas as part of their living area. Then they demolished the wall between the bedroom and the balcony making the balcony as part of the bedroom. I immediately raised this issue with India Builders and obviously there was no response. Instead the owner visited us to tell us how we should not mind for such small things and if objected how he can object to my 6 year old son playing in his car park area. I was like, WOW!

CC Dakshinalaya (2)

Open Terrace before at the time of obtaining the completion certificate
Balcony before at the time of obtaining the completion certificate
Open terrace 2 unauthorized constructions after obtaining the completion certificate
Open terrace 2 unauthorized constructions after obtaining the completion certificate
Balcony deviations after obtaining the completion certificate
Open terrace 1 unauthorized constructions after obtaining the completion certificate
Open terrace 2 unauthorized constructions after obtaining the completion certificate

They put the unauthorized construction work on hold and sat and cracked a plan to harass me. They locked me out of my flat on the ground that I need to pay the balance amount of about 4% of the total cost to even access my flat, filed a caveat in the High Court (at least they guessed that they are gonna get their ass kicked), delayed completion of the work in my flat, did not bother to respond to my email etc. I should agree that they were quite successful in diverting my attention that I had to focus on getting my flat keys than be worried about what they are constructing. Days flew by and I finally managed to occupy the flat on May 5, 2017, even before they finished the flat but expecting them to complete the flat was plain foolish. Then I had to leave to Barcelona for a conference and I returned last week. Meanwhile they have gone ahead and sealed one of the the open terrace area.

What’s shocking is the confidence the builder has on the authorities of the CMDA not raising an issue on unauthorised constructions and deviations. Secondly the malafide intention of building fake walls for the sole purpose of obtaining completion certificate and thereafter continue with the unauthorized constructions and deviations without an iota of fear of the law.

I will now have to move to the CMDA and if nothing happens, move to the High Court and am sure it would take years to see the light but I believe that this is the right thing to do.

If you are aware of any such issues and have actively stopped them from doing so, please do comment below your experience.

 

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Nobody is above the law – Nemo est supra legis

Chola King Manuneedhi Cholan 

It was a pleasant start of a day with showers early this morning and a sense of calmness around the place with just the sweet chirping of the birds. An early start to office, hoping to beat traffic (and fail as always – everyone starts early to beat traffic) the roads looked deserted until I reached Anna Nagar – K4 Police Station where there was heavy traffic towards the police station. While I keep looking at the white line ahead of me and steering to stay within the lines not getting on the way of the incoming traffic, I see a nice white car over taking me on my right, with the head lights on (my understanding is that it means a request for the right of way – correct me if I am wrong) into the incoming traffic and another white car behind the first one. Before I could yell at the driver “Where the hell do you think you are going?” I am quick to pause and hold my thought and tongue as I see a red beacon flashing on the first car and the second car with just a red beacon. I was telling myself  “don’t get into an argument with a police officer” (that’s the first thing you get in your head seeing a car with a beacon right?). Oh baby was I in for a surprise? In fact shock. Both cars are that of the Hon’ble Madras High Court Judges. I am not sure whether the Hon’ble Judges were there (I assume there was a High Court Judge inside the first car as the beacon was flashing). While I still wait for the signal to turn green and the long Q of cars before me to move, the two cars just slipped away and long gone. (like Gone in 60 seconds) My memories went back to my first year of law school when I was introduced to legal maxims and one maxim that flashed on my windshield was “Nemo est supra legis” meaning “Nobody is above the law” and the statute of the Chola King Manuneedhi Cholan in the premises of the Madras High Court Campus which I happen to see often accompanying my grand father to Court since my school days. The Chola king believed to have killed his own son to provide justice to a Cow whose Calf was killed under the wheels of his chariot. I pondered over the question of whether the Hon’ble High Court Judges are an exception to this maxim and drew into the heaviest of the rains I have ever seen, reaching office on time.


Image taken from: http://www.hcmadras.tn.nic.in

Senseless and Insensitive Chennai Traffic Cops

I just returned back home after attending a wedding reception but for a change with a heavy heart. No it has nothing to do with the marriage. I left home around 6.45pm and wading through the traffic reaching the Ega Theatre junction at about 7pm and was waiting for the signal to turn green to take a right to get into the Chetpet Over Bridge when I started to hear the ambulance siren and I checked my rear view mirror to find the ambulance right behind me stuck between the traffic. Unfortunately I was unable to move any further and was helpless. I just honked and tried to alert the police guy a furlong away but all my honks and shouting’s fell in deaf ears. I just prayed that the signal turn green but to add fuel to the fire the signal on the other end fell green and none bothered to stop nor did the police constables or the traffic sergeant tried to stop the incoming traffic so that I can move forward. After waiting impatiently for about 5 minutes the traffic light turned green and I moved aside and left the ambulance to move forward. I called up the sergeant and asked him what he was doing and he replied shamelessly “Where is the ambulance? And tried shouting at the poor constables standing on the other side of the road” It is not unusual for the cops to behave differently to the “worthless politicians” and “the innocent citizens” but what is heart breaking is their insensitive attitude even towards the public in immediate need of medical attention. I am sure everyone would agree that the traffic flows better in the absence of a traffic cop of a sergeant. Such senseless cops are actually violating the basic rights of the citizen to life guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. 

Whos median is it anyway?

Every political party using public property in the best effective way. Hundreds of party flag poles put on the center median of every road by digging the median.
Oh right, how only can we give contracts for maintaining and re buildin medians? Same is the story with roads and political party banners.

Rules gone for a walk – Abirami Mall – Chennai

OWNER:
Yes we need to make money and so we rent out every inch of space we can. Not to be spared is the emergency exit where a chocolate stall has come. COMMON GUYS…. Are we fools to spend crores of money (legally and otherwise) building malls for you to enjoy and not to make money ……. thats bad 😦

Before Accident:
Formal Statements:
Police Dept: We will check into the matter and take strict action
Fire Dept: We have checked completly and only thereafter we have issued clearence. What can we do if they break the rules later?
CMDA: Really?
Corporation: Common Sir, we have other work 🙂

After Accident:
Formal Statements:
Police Dept: We are investigating the matter and will submit our report shortly
Fire Dept: There seems to be an electric short circuit. As stated investigations are on and we will submit our reports.
CMDA: We have issued them notice on this already.
Corporation: We have been warning them of such things for quaite some time now

The result:
Loss of valuable lifes

Responsiblity:
NO ONE CARES