A petitioner claimed that norms for granting permission were violated, and also pointed out that the construction was happening at unprecedented speed.

Madras HC stays reconstruction of Chennai Silks building over safety concerns
news Court Wednesday, July 25, 2018 - 08:41

A year after a massive fire gutted the eight-storey building of Chennai Silks in T Nagar, the Madras High Court has stayed its reconstruction over safety concerns. The Madras High Court passed an interim injunction on Tuesday, preventing further construction work from taking place.

A division bench of Justices N Kirubakaran and Krishnan Ramasamy was hearing a plea that pointed out that approximately 40% of the building’s reconstruction work had been completed within 20 days of the government granting approval. The petition was filed by Kannan Balachandran, a member of the T Nagar Residents’ Welfare Association.

Kannan also alleged that the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) was violating norms for granting permissions for the construction. He said that the minimum buffer space of 500 metres along the length of the road was absent, and that the building remains a risk for shoppers and residents in the area.

The CMDA has been directed to appear before the court and explain the grounds for having granted the approval.

The court also granted an interim stay on the reclassification of the building area into ‘commercial area’ from ‘residential area’.

In June this year, just over a year after the eight-storey building of popular textiles brand Chennai Silks went up in flames on the busy Usman Road, the government granted approval for its reconstruction.

The fire, which raged for close to 11 hours, caused significant damage to the building and major loss in business for the company. Fire personnel doused the flames by spraying water from the centre of the T Nagar flyover since they couldn't enter the seven-storey building because of the large clouds of black smoke.

The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority officials had stated that an application seeking permission for planning and construction of an eight-storey building with a basement and ground floor was filed in mid-May.

The building which needed a No Objection Certificate from the traffic police was set to be built in a total area of 1.10 lakh square feet.

The matter has been posted for further hearing on August 3.