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Civic body okayed flats on amenity space in Anandam

Skeletons have started tumbling out from the cupboards of Nagpur Municipal Corporation's (NMC) town planning department in connection with the city's biggest housing project — Anandam.

It has come to the fore that engineers of the department had approved residential flats on amenity space, which was supposed to be kept for public purpose, seven years ago. Current NMC officials said it was an irregularity and cited it as one of the reasons behind rejection of revised layout and building plans.

Justifying the approval obtained from NMC, chief manager of project developer Goldbricks Infrastructure Private Ltd Pratik Saraogi told TOI that an appeal has been filed with the state urban development department (UDD). He exuded confidence that the appeal will be allowed.

"Contents of NMC letter were incorrect. The layout plan was approved in 2010 by the municipal commissioner after correct interpretation of the city's Development Control Rules (DCR). The current administration, under external influence, rejected the revised approved tentative layout plan even as all the conditions were fulfilled," he said.

On March 8, the town planning department had rejected Anandam's revised layout and building plans citing four reasons. "25% of the layout area is supposed to be left for amenity space, of which 50% space was for playground/recreational ground. Residential and commercial flats as well as road usage have been shown in 50% of the total amenity area. These usages are not permitted as per the city's DCR," NMC said.

It has come to the fore that the department had already approved residential flats and road usage in the amenity space and not just shown its in the revised layout plan.

RTI activist TH Naidu said the municipal commissioner should initiate action against the engineers of the department as amenity space in question accounts for 1.26 lakh sqft and is worth over Rs 40 crore.

"NMC accepted such usage, which were not permitted on amenity space. It clearly proves that the engineers committed irregularity in the past. Fortunately, it has now come to the fore after scrutiny of revised plans. The municipal commissioner should also reject the earlier plans and take stringent action against the engineers," he said.

A senior NMC official said on the condition of anonymity that it was a mistake and the civic body is now correcting it. "Construction related to public purpose like club house, sports halls, parks, library, gymnasium etc are permissible on amenity space," he said.

Earlier, Naidu had exposed that engineers of the town planning department approved new construction in the project by neglecting environment clearance and without MPCB's consent. Also, the MPCB had pointed out various violations in the project and initiated the process to take action against the developer.
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