Sorry State of Chennai Apartment Affairs

There was drizzle to heavy rain in Chennai (one of the four metros in India) yesterday and it made a perfect weather for the summer (having excessive heat during the day). In view of the small storm/ lightning, an apartment building under construction collapsed leaving 60+ people trapped inside the construction building, at-least 10 dead and counting. Thanks to the Chief Minister & the rescue effort team for the expedited efforts in assisting people. A Compensation of Rs. 2, 00,000 (USD 3600) is being provided to the deceased.

Source: NDTV –picture source

The construction building collapse is no surprise and not the first incident of this sort. We have 1000+ apartments coming up in Chennai and around, the prices are sky-rocketing and we are able to tolerate the sub-par construction and poor infrastructure.

The CMDA (Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority) is due to submit a report on the incident today. Can we have some transparency on the approval process for the building under question? When was the approval to this building provided, what was the inspection process followed? Who is accountable for this incident?

Transparency in Project Approval: Can the CMDA release a list of apartments in Chennai which have submitted for plan approvals / completion certificates. Can we request a report on the buildings under construction? What is the process in obtaining a completion certificate? Why does it take this long to receive one? (There are apartments in construction for 7+ years). This will help the prospective buyer in choosing the right community/apartment to live in.

Regulate the apartment prices: Can we regulate the apartment prices? It does not make sense to pay Rs. 5000 to Rs. 15,000 per square feet and as soon as you hit the road we have to tolerate the poor infrastructure of roads which cannot withstand a rainy day. Owning a single family home in Houston, TX is cheaper than buying an apartment in Chennai.

Guideline Value: Are we able to enforce the guideline value? Can we have stricter implementation of laws so an apartment / piece of land are not sold over the guideline value set by the lawmakers?

Deceiving Ads in Newspapers/Television: The news paper and television ads are deceiving. Great pictures of apartments are posted in news paper and television ads. Are these pictures real? Can we also make it mandatory for these ads to talk about the safety practices?

Safety and Insurance for Construction workers: Saturday’s are payment days for all the construction workers. Everyone is paid in cash. Can we regulate this to ensure all payments to be made by check/direct deposit into the construction worker’s bank account? It is the responsibility of the corporate to ensure safety of their workforce. Do the construction workers have insurance if something were to happen in the construction site? Are the construction workers trained on safety practices and equipped with safety kits?

This could be an endless list. Taking care of the victims and ensuring wellness is the foremost priority. The security and wellness of a citizen is the state’s priority which we all understand. Can we take baby steps to resolve this? Can we come up with an execution plan and a 180 day agenda so we do not have to go through this again? Let us wake up and work towards building a better Chennai together.

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