Officials said the plan was being discussed at the highest levels of the government which is looking at cities with a population of above 10 lakh. “Coimbatore and Madurai are the cities that may have independent planning authorities after CMDA,” an official told TOI. While the two cities have Local Planning Authorities (LPA), a development authority would facilitate various projects including bus terminus, ring roads and wholesale market, all amenities created in the Chennai Metropolitan Area by the CMDA. “Based on the feedback, it could be extended to other cities like Tuticorin and Tirunelveli,” the official said.
K P Subramanian, retired professor of urban engineering at Anna University, said such an authority was long due. “The development authority for Coimbatore and Madurai was announced in early 1996 when J Jayalalithaa was chief minister,” he said, adding that the government erred while amending the town and country planning act in 1973. “The amendment focused only on Chennai. Now, necessary changes should be brought into the act such that other cities can be included.” Cities like Salem and Trichy should also have similar bodies, he said. “Development authorities as the latter has more powers such as land acquisition, borrow funds and offer funding to the local bodies.”
While some Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (Credai) Tamil Nadu president Ajit Kumar Chordia welcomed the move saying it would help considerably reduce planning permission, a few others such bodies were not necessary. “Such an authority is against the 74th amendment on municipalities. It would undermine the powers of the local bodies with regard to town planning,” said S Kanagasundaram, former president of the Association of Licensed Building Surveyors Coimbatore said.