Sunday, December 05, 2010

TN housing quota abused to benefit judges MLA

Close on the heels of the controversy surrounding land allotments to prominent politicians in Karnataka, a RTI activist in Chennai has blown the lid off similar largesse showered on judges, legislators and bureaucrats by the Tamil Nadu Housing Board. According to housing board records acquired under RTI, many allotments have been made over the past decade through the state government's discretionary quota (GDQ), nearly 40% of them in 2008 alone.

The primary objective of the state-run TNHB, which manages a large land bank, is to create housing stock by granting plots or constructing flats at an affordable price for those who do not own one. The broad guidelines are intended to favour applicants who "do not own a flat/house/plot" within urban limits in any part of the state or in schemes promoted by TNHB anywhere in Tamil Nadu in one's name or in the name of spouses or minor children. The same conditions apply for the discretionary quota although the government is free to fast-track the application. According to RTI data, scores of allotments have been made in the last five years, in Mogappair and Thiruvanmiyur, violating norms.

The information was procured by V Gopalakrishnan, a RTI activist who filed applications seeking information from TNHB.

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