A recently-opened commercial building in the town was served with a “lock and seal” notice for flouting building norms by the Udhagamandalam Municipality.
The building complex, which currently has a clothing store operating on one floor, is located near the St. Stephen’s Church and the Collectorate, adjoining the Davis Park.
When contacted, Nilgiris District Collector J. Innocent Divya confirmed that a “lock and seal” notice was issued to the owners of the building since it was opened a few weeks ago. She said that they had been given a few days time to respond to the notice, and that the building would be sealed after the expiry of the time provided to the owners.
R. Saraswati, Municipal Commissioner, said that the owners had appealed to the Directorate of Municipal Administration in Chennai against the notice.
Officials added that local residents as well as the CSI Coimbatore diocese which manages the St. Stephen’s Church had also complained against the owners of the complex as their land was being encroached upon by the business owners, who were allowing customers to park their vehicles there by the side of the Udhagamandalam to Gudalur Road. Since then, the municipality has granted permission for the church to install a fence along the side of the road to prevent illegal parking along the roadside.
G. Janardhanan, president of the Ooty Public Awareness Association said that buildings which were built without proper permissions should not be allowed to operate. “The government should ensure that these builders are not allowed to retrospectively apply for regularisation after flouting building rules in the first place,” he said.
The district administration has in the past come down heavily on illegally constructed buildings. In 2019, 15 buildings that had been built without proper permission were sealed by the municipality near Hill Bunk Petrol Station, Lovedale Junction and the Grant Duff Road.
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