Chennai Metro Rail: Track work on Anna Salai underground line nearing completion

Chennai Metro Rail: Track work on Anna Salai underground line nearing completion

Laying of tracks in the underground section on the Anna Salai has reached the final stages.

Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) has floated tenders for the final finishing of track works from AG-DMS to Thousand Lights. The remaining 10km section of phase-1 between Washermenpet and AG-DMS is expected to be ready by December 2018.

While the laying of tracks has been completed, CMRL is now looking for a company to do finishing work on the downline for a stretch of 1.7km.

“Track work is still underway between Central Metro and Government Estate. We are likely to begin trial run by September,” an official said.

Metro trains are operated on ballastless tracks.

Construction of the stations and its entry structure is in full-swing between Government Estate and AG-DMS. One of the entry structures of stations Government Estate and AG-DMS is being integrated with the existing pedestrian subway.

Civil and track work between Washermenpet and Central Metro stations are nearing completion and installation of signal systems have begun.

U Tejonmayam, The Times of India, Chennai

Registration of properties may soon need Aadhaar

Property registrations in Tamil Nadu may no longer be facilitated without Aadhaar card as the state government is mandating the 12-digit unique identification number for the purpose. The move stems out of a recent fraud involving creation of forged Power of Attorney (PoA) for a plot worth Rs 4 crore at Madhavaram of a city-based resident currently residing overseas using impersonated identity proof with the alleged connivance of the sub-registrar.

Registration department officials told TOI a proposal has been sent to the government to make Aadhaar card compulsory for land registrations. “Once Aadhaar is mandated, people should provide their Aadhaar card as an identification proof. Our biometric devices would be linked to the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) central server to authenticate that the seller is the real owner of the property,” a registration official said.

It is learned that the proposal is in the advanced stage with the government as it has to amend the Tamil Nadu Registration Rules to make authentication through Aadhaar card for land registrations. Registration department sources said that mandating Aadhaar would help eradicate fraudulent registrations.

According to data available with the state government, Tamil Nadu has a 95% Aadhaar coverage. Of the 7.65 lakh population in the state, 7.27 lakh have Aadhaar cards. “In the cases, where people do not have Aadhaar cards, the procedures of the UIDAI would be followed to facilitate the registrations,” the source said.

In a recent case of fraudulent registration at Madhavaram sub-registrar office, a fake document was created in the name of the original owner of the 4,200 square feet vacant plot such that she has given the PoA to another person. “The forged PoA came to light when encumbrance certificate was applied to sell the property, whose market value is worth Rs 4 crore,” the official added. The case is under central crime branch police for investigation and an FIR has been registered, in which four persons, including George, the sub-registrar of Madhavaram, have been named as accused.

Yogesh Kabirdoss, The Times of India, Chennai

Chennai district likely to expand to 426 sqkm

Chennai district likely to expand to 426 sqkm mid-July

More than seven months after the state announced the expansion of Chennai district, the city’s boundaries are set to get wider by mid July. Areas falling under the purview of Greater Chennai Corporation would be part of the expanded Chennai district to facilitate better coordination between the civic body and district administration for executing various administrative activities.

Revenue department sources said that the procedure to elicit the view of officials on choice of district has been completed in Kancheepuram district. “Government servants have provided their preferred option to either work in Chennai or stick to Kancheepuram district,” a revenue official said. But, the process is still under way in Tiruvallur district. According to plan, 67 revenue villages from Alandur and Sholinganallur Taluks in Kancheepuram and Ambattur, Madavaram, Maduravoyal and Tiruvottiyur taluks in Tiruvallur district would be merged with Chennai district, taking the total number of revenue villages in the expanded city to 122.

Official sources said that the state is expected to make a notification regarding the merger of the urbanised neighbourhood revenue villages mid-July. “It is likely to be on July 15,” a senior revenue department official said.

This expansion would increase the size of Chennai from 176sqkm to 426sqkm covering all 15 zones of Greater Chennai Corporation. The city will have an additional revenue divisional officer from the existing two. The state had missed its April 1 target for issuing the notification due to delay in completing the task of getting the views of government staff working in these taluks on their preferred place of work.

Yogesh Kabirdoss, The Times of India, Chennai

Born again Anna Nagar Chennai

Three metro stations dotting a two-kilometre stretch, a wide two-way thoroughfare and an address that leading retail brands are competing for — Second Avenue Road on Anna Nagar is now a posh shopping hub bustling with life, a dramatically different picture from a year ago, when the metro rail construction had just finished.

Since the end of 2010, when phase-1 metro constructions began in the area, the roads were dug up and barricaded, traffic turned chaotic and shops began relocating as the area was almost cut off. Now, a year after the road is widened and metro rail has become operational the transformation is complete with the locality getting back in business.

While the newly-opened showrooms are looking at brisk sale, existing shops which suffered huge losses are experiencing a revival. S Prabhakaran, manager of a leading consumer electronics shop near Anna Nagar Tower metro station said, “We opened our showroom six months ago. From 2012 to 2017, it was a difficult time for traders because sales took a heavy beating as Second Ave nue Road was made into a one-way and parking was not allowed. The losses ranged between 20% and 30%,” he said, adding that business had improved in the past few months and new brands were setting up shop. “Reputed chains, including several restaurants had relocated. That phase has ended with new entrants moving into this area,” he said.

Anna Nagar is a home for several political leaders and noted personalities such as MDMK General Secretary Vaiko, TNCC President Su Thirunnavukkarasar and ÁIADMK Minister K Pandiarajan. Before traffic diversions, the locality was an important business centre of west Chennai.

But the one-way rule and with a majority of road space taken over for construction of underground stations, there was hardly any room for business establishments.

S Nagoor Kani, owner of a stationery shop said customers had dwindled. “I was on the verge of shutting down my business due to heavy losses. I pulled through hoping that the scenario would change and, now the change has begun,” he said. “Four big retailers and a hospital moved out of here and are yet to return,” he points out.

A few traders are yet to see the boost they expect. “The changes in Anna Nagar haven’t helped and add to it the losses due to demonetisation. I am reeling under a 20% loss. The business though better than before is still not on a par with the years before 2012,” said L Gopalakrishnan, a textile shop owner.

Yogesh Kabirdoss, The Times of India, Chennai

Times of India July 28 2018 Edition – Times Property News Article mentioning 360 Property Management

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House hunting can lead to having interesting experiences for each person. When Srividhya, a financial analyst, was scouring the city for a house to move into on rent, she contacted a person whose phone number was listed on a website. “I found myself speaking to a property manager who enquired about my requirements. He was managing the property that belonged to someone else. But what surprised me the most was that he wanted to interview me to see if I fit the bill of the property owner. I was not aware that the city had such services where an owner could hire such people so that they don’t have to micro-manage certain tasks,” she says.

Many from the earlier generation may have built houses to live in them. But today, buying a house is not merely to live in it, but it also seen as an investment. Hence an owner, today, need not essentially live in a same house. And this is where home management services are sought.

How exactly is it relevant today? T.Chockalingam, managing partner, 360 property management services, says,”20 years back, if you owned a house in a city that you currently did not live in, you would take the help of a relative (family member) or a friend to help to find a tenant, or to help with anything that was related to the property such as a repair of renovation work. Today, there are a lot of Indians who are settled abroad or live far away from the property, and they may be reluctant to ask a relative’s help in this regard. Simply because they may know that these people may not feel obliged to help them, or they may live far from the property themselves and may find it inconvenient to visit it often”. And that is how these services have become crucial to many Chennai residents.

These companies after a range of solutions. They help in buying and selling houses and finding tenants for the houses, and finding tenants for the house. Tenants are often interviewed, the information is verified and that is shared with the house owner. Sometimes it is also their job to find tenants according to the demands of the owner.” Sometimes they will be particular about tenants having a small family or belonging to a certain state or community. We have to find them accordingly. Then a rental agreement is drafted and the deal is finalized. We then become facilitators”, says a property manager.

Further, services pertaining to electrical, plumbing carpentry, flooring wood work and painting are taken care of by a team from property management service companies. Also property tax, maintenance charges water and sewer charges and other expenses are paid on time to by these organizations. They visit the property from time to time to check if it has been well maintained by its occupants and even pictures and videos of the same are shared with the owners.   Read more

Online registration of properties nets Tamil Nadu 19% more revenue

Online registration of properties nets Tamil Nadu 19% more revenue

There has been a 32% increase in the number of registrations of properties and documents and 19% increase in registration revenue in Tamil Nadu during the period from February 13, 2018, to June 20, 2018, when the registration process went online, over the corresponding period last year.

While the overall number of registration of documents went up from 6.43 lakh to 8.51 lakh, revenue increased from Rs 2,234 crore to Rs 2,660 crore during the last four months when the system went online. The hike in registrations is primarily being viewed as a positive fallout of computerisation of the registration process, introduced on February 13, 2018, said IG registration J Kumaragurubaran.

Among the sub-registrar (SR) offices that saw an exponential growth in revenue are Mylapore – Rs 39 crore to Rs 72 crore – and Saidapet I – Rs 54 crore to Rs 70 crore. In some sub-registrar offices, especially those in and around Chennai like Thiruporur, Anna Nagar, Ashok Nagar, Sembium, Saidapet I and Pallavaram, there is a considerable fall in the number of registrations after the online system was introduced. Developers are of the opinion that the fall in registrations in some sub-registrar offices could be owing to man-made glitches, aimed at showing that the online system was a disaster.

“We find a lot of resistance among SR office staff to the online system. Blaming poor net connectivity for the delay caused in registration of documents, the staff subject customers to untold hardships,” said a developer.

Computerisation of registration process has brought in automation on a large scale. Apart from online booking, even the back office operation is done online at present, said Kumaragurubaran. The department has engaged 500 data entry operators through a contractor to handle the additional workload like scanning images and documents, he said. “Introduction of the online system has increased transparency in administration and accountability of registration department staff. We are keeping a close watch on SR offices that perform below par and from where lots of customer complaints emerge. Wherever people are found wilfully delaying the procedures, strict action will follow,” said Kumaragurubaran.

Though the overall revenue trend looks positive, it is too early to project the growth for the financial year, he said.

The slashing of guideline values across the state a year ago could have played a major role in boosting real estate transactions and registration revenue, said Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India Chennai chapter Vice-President S Sridharan.

Source: Economic Times, Chennai

After 20 years Chennai Corporation increases property tax rates

After two decades, Corporation increases property tax rates

After two decades, Corporation increases property tax rates

Civic body expected to mop up ₹1,160 crore after hike

After years of inertia, the Chennai Corporation and other urban local bodies in Tamil Nadu have revised the property tax rates. The new rates will be effective from this half-year period i.e., April-September 2018. The increase will not be more than 100% for commercial and rented residential buildings, and not more than 50% for residential buildings.

While the Chennai Corporation last revised property tax in 1998, other local bodies in the State revised it in 2008.

Accepting the proposals of the Chennai Corporation Commissioner, the Commissioner of Municipal Administration and the Director of Town Panchayats, the State government has issued an order paving the way for the hike in tax rate.

Following the revision, the Chennai Corporation is expected to collect ₹180 crore every half-year from 10.5 lakh residential building owners and ₹400 crore from 1.5 lakh non-residential building owners. Property tax collection in Chennai is expected to increase to ₹1,160 crore a year.

Last week, a Division Bench of the Madras High Court directed the Municipal Administration and Water Supply Principal Secretary Harmander Singh to take a decision with regard to the proposal submitted by the Chennai Corporation Commissioner D. Karthikeyan within two weeks regarding the revision of property tax and report to the court during the next hearing on August 3.

Assessees who have already paid property tax for this half-year will have to pay the arrears. “We will issue guidelines for general revision this week,” said an official.

In Chennai, all the 12 lakh property tax assessees will be asked to file property tax returns with the Chennai Corporation Revenue Department, with details on the extent of the building and the usage of the building. While the revision will impact all assessees, those whose nature of usage as changed from residential to commercial will find the hike particularly steep. During the previous revision in 1998, the civic body processed the property tax returns of assessees manually. So it required more manpower and at least six months to process the returns. Now, with advancement of technology, the civic bodies may encourage online submission. Currently, the Chennai Corporation has less than 80 property tax assessors to scrutinise the tax returns.

“Unlike Bengaluru, we do not impose any penalty on assessees who fail to file property tax returns on time. So the collection of property tax returns will be a challenge,” said an official.

Source The Hindu

Chennai development body to ease reclassification process

The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) has introduced a slew of measures to reduce the inordinate delay in processing the reclassification of land use applications in the Chennai Metropolitan Area (CMA).

The measures include admission of such applications directly by the planning authority. Hitherto, the reclassification applications must be submitted only to the concerned local body, which would be forwarded to the CMDA for processing.

A recent office order of the CMDA said the reclassification proposals may also be admitted directly to the CMDA along with all enclosures as per the checklist, in addition of admitting in the local bodies concerned.

After introduction of the online admission for reclassification proposals, the applications should be submitted only online, it added.

Presently, scrutiny of registered documents is carried out to verify unauthorised subdivisions and the requirement for Open Space Reservation (OSR).

Noting that the detailed scrutiny of registered documents was time consuming, the order said the process would be taken up at the development stage instead of detailed scrutiny at reclassification level.

However, a disclaimer clause that the land use variation approval is not confirming the ownership right of the applicant over the property under reference and any claim on right or title over the property shall have to be proved before the appropriate/competent court to decide on the ownership’ may be included, the office order further said.

Yogesh Kabirdoss, Economic Times, Chennai

Chennai will be the fourth Indian city to join the league of 50 data-driven global cities

Soar towards sustainability

Chennai will be the fourth Indian city to join the league of 50 data-driven global cities and it holds a lot of promise in the time to come.

There is a new development that can change the face of urban governance in Chennai. The World Council on City Data (WCCD) is a global network of data-driven cities under the City Data for India Initiative. A few days back, it was announced that Chennai Smart City would soon join the list of three Indian cities (Pune, Surat and Jamshedpur) after getting certification from the WCCD. Currently, there are over 50 cities certified by the WCCD, the first ever ISO standard for cities.

Data indeed holds the key to future decisions. As a Chennai Corporation official puts it, “Data is missing in most Indian cities and even when it exists, it does so in silos. Urban planning requires accurate information about several factors such as pollution, encroachment, water bodies and green cover,” he says, adding that, “Drone mapping has a lot of potential in the time to come. Planning itself can take a while. One department cannot access the data in another department.”

Data collection:

So, from which areas will data be captured? If the website of WCCD is an indicator, there will be strong data points for cities that come under its purview. From basic details such as the population of the city, land area, GDP, and density of population, data will be gathered for several other factors such as population dependency ratio, number of occupied dwelling units, percentage of non-citizens in a city, employment indicators, energy consumption, and state of environment, finance, health and governance.

However, according to Ajit Chordia, MD of a leading real estate group, “Chennai has made it to the list more due to its past success with infrastructure, public transport, safety and decent water supply. While other cities are moving fast, Chennai is stagnating. Finances are poor; in a few years, water supply and sewage will not support the growing city and Chennai will take a dip in the ranking of the WCCD. Unless huge investments are made, cities like Vijayawada and Hyderabad will overtake Chennai.”

Improving urban governance

Making data on cities available in the public domain, as is the case in cities like London and Singapore, can bring about a major change for the good of the country. To start with, it will improve city planning and effective comparisons with other cities, and create benchmarks for measurement, which will lead to improvement of urban governance. A corporation official is of the view that, “Greenhouse gas mapping and resilience mapping can greatly benefit the city; these measurement aspects will be along the lines of globally-set standards. The idea is to constantly improve.”

Arjun Narayanan, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

Temple tanks to be restored using smart city funds in Chennai

Temple tanks to be restored using smart city funds

After a delay of over two years, the city corporation is pushing ahead with temple tank restoration project but the funds will be drawn out of the coffers of Chennai Smart City Limited.

According to corporation sources, the project executed under the ‘Sustainable Water Security Mission’ will see 15 temple tanks restored at a cost of Rs 2.28 crore.

The temple tanks included in the project are Gangadeeswarar Koil tank in Purasawalkam, Virupaacheeswarar temple in Mylapore, Biragi Madam Venkatesa Perumal Koil, Angala Parameswari Koil, Ekambareswarar Koil and Kasi Viswanathar Koil in Royapuram zone, Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal and Peyazhvar Koil in Saidapet, Kandasamy and Aathimottaiamman Koil in Kuyapettai, Chenna Malleswarar Chenna Kesavaperumal Koil and Mallikeswarar Koil in George Town, Kalyana Varadaraja Perumal Koil in Kaladipet, Thiruvetteswarar Koil in Teynampet zone, Kasi Viswanathasamy Koil in Ayanavaram, Sengazhuneer Pillaiyar Koil and Katchaleeswarar Koil in Royapuram zone.

“The project would involve removing garbage found in the temple tank and then desilting it to increase its water storage capacity. We will form bund and strengthen the structure because a few tanks in the north Chennai neighbourhood are in a really bad shape,” a corporation official said.

The corporation also intends to capture rain water from roof tops of houses and buildings surrounding the temple tank and re-route the water into the tank’s bed. “Sunken wells too will be provided to help ground water recharge process,” the official added.

The proposal would be placed before the upcoming Chennai Smart City Limited board meeting for approval, officials said.

Initially, the corporation identified 17 temple tanks for restoration. The final list, however, does not include the Thyagaraja Swami temple in Thiruvottiyur and the Madhava Perumal temple in Mylapore with the civic body providing no explanation for the exclusion.

Source: The Times of India, Chennai