Even as the Kochi Corporation authorities assert that the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms are being followed strictly, allegations are rife that they are not aware of the procedures.
It is learnt that the civic body had issued permits to some of the builders without seeking the CRZ clearance from Kerala State Coastal Zone Management Authority.
It is not wrong to say that local bodies too are not aware of the rules that Puramboke land as well as lease land should not be used for constructing buildings. “For instance, the new high-rise constructed near the Pyary junction, close to the BOT Bridge by the Choice group was recently inspected by our team for violations. In the primary inspection conducted by the officials of the Palluruthy zonal office of the Kochi Corporation, it looks like the building has been extended on a portion of a leased land,” alleged an official with the Town Planning Department of the zonal office.
He said that as per the records with them, a total of 53 cents of land was documented by the builder. Another 23 cents lie on the banks of the backwaters leased out from the Rameswaram Village Office while 7.5 cents of land is Puramboke land. Since we do not have a permanent surveyor here, a group of officials from the zonal office conducted an inspection there. In our assessment, there is a chance that the building may have extended to the 7.5 cents of Puramboke land,” he said.
The 22 cents of land is maintained as water front area. An official of the Department concerned said that they have handed over the file to the Taluk Survey Office. “The taluk surveyor had recently visited the site and we are waiting for the report. If any violations are recorded, we will ask the builder to regularise it as per the rule or carry out the necessary rectification work,” the official said.
The issue was raised recently at the Corporation council meet by ruling front councillor K R Premkumar and opposition councilorr V S Sreejith. As per the rule a distance of 500 metres from High Tide Level is CRZ area. “For backwater islands it has been reduced to 50 metres in the new CRZ Notification, 2011. The authorities should take this into account,” said the official.