Greater Chennai Corporation to assess 20,000 buildings on poromboke land for property tax

Officials say the assessment of buildings on Poromboke land in added areas, which were merged with the city in 2011, is challenging since there are no specific guidelines.

Officials say the assessment of buildings on Poromboke land in added areas, which were merged with the city in 2011, is challenging since there are no specific guidelines. | Photo Credit: M.VEDHAN

Owing to the demand from councillors, the Greater Chennai Corporation plans to assess 20,000 buildings, developed on poromboke land, for property tax. It has sought a clarification from the government whether the assessment of such buildings can be carried out in various zones of the city.

At the Corporation Council meeting held on March 2, councillors demanded a property tax assessment of buildings on Poromboke land. Their argument was that many families that had been living for generations on certain categories of land, like grama nathamwere unable to get pattas.

ME Sekar, councillor of ward 89 in the Ambattur zone, said over 500 buildings in areas, like Kamarajar Nagar at Padi, had been built on poromboke land, and the residents were demanding pattas. “The residents have demanded that the Corporation assess the buildings for property tax,” he said.

The situation is more challenging in the added areas, which were merged with the city in 2011, Corporation officials say. “There are no specific guidelines for solving such issues, including the construction of buildings on Poromboke land,” said an official.

“The Tamil Nadu Combined Development and Building Rules apply to constructions. These are cases in which there are no pattas, but the houses are in grama natham which in earlier days used to be common land for residential purposes in villages. when the natham settlement scheme was implemented, pattas were given for grama natham land. However, many still reside without pattas; hence, they are not assessed for property tax and they may face challenges in getting civic amenities,” said the official.

“We have sought a clarification from the government, since Poromboke land is government property. We have enumerated only the anadheenam and grama natham categories of land, which account for about 20,000 buildings in various zones,” says the official.

Some residents object

Even as the councilors are demanding a property tax assessment of houses on Poromboke Land, some residents in the approved layouts of the added areas have objected to the plan. They argue that a decision should be taken only after ensuring that it does not affect the city’s flood preparedness.

Meanwhile, residents of about 2,000 buildings in the southern side of the Velachery Lake have received notice from the Water Resources Department. “The buildings have been constructed on a water body, and hence it is classified as an objectionable poromboke land. So pattas cannot be issued. But they have not been evicted because of political support,” says an activist.

The government should not encourage residents who have encroached on objectionable land. The encroachers caused a breach in the lake bund to prevent flooding of their houses during the northeast monsoon, and this led to the approved layouts being flooded, the activist alleged.

A senior civic official says all buildings standing on the Poromboke Watercourse cannot be assessed for property tax because such an exercise will go against court rulings. “There are other Poromboke lands, with buildings, which may not be highly objectionable. It is for the Revenue Department to regularize such buildings or retrieve the land,” he points out.

“Since the Corporation created infrastructure such as roads and street lights, a suggestion has been made to tax buildings on non-objectionable poromboke land without the grant of rights of land ownership. But the final decision will be taken by the government,” he said.

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