The exercise has begun ward-wise; sites will be used to develop parks

With the aim of preventing the misuse of reserve sites in approved layouts, the Coimbatore Corporation has embarked on an exercise to identify and take possession of such lands. According to senior officials, the civic body has begun the exercise ward-wise in all the five zones.

The assistant town planning officers of the five zones are carrying out the exercise based on the layout approval documents the Corporation has. The officers will visit all the layouts, identify the reserve sites, measure and fence them if there are no encroachments. If there are encroachments, the Corporation will remove the same before fencing and erecting a board.

If there are buildings – houses or residential complexes – the Corporation will issue notice to the occupants to vacate the premises within 15 days, cancel the property tax assessments, stop water supplies and also ask the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation to stop power supplies and then proceed as per law to take possession of the reserve sites.

The officials say that in the past few days the assistant town planning officers have visited five wards and identified 15 – 20 cases of encroachment. The Corporation is now in the process of removing the encroachments.

If in the process of taking possession of the lands, the Corporation faced trouble from the illegal occupants, the Corporation has also planned to lodge land grab complaints with the Anti-Land Grab Cell police.

The Corporation focussed on added areas – 40 wards – because it was in those places that the number of reserve sites that are not in the Corporation’s possession is high. Not only that, the Corporation in a few instances is also not aware if there are reserve sites.

Once identified and taken over, the Corporation plans to handover the sites to the local residents’ association or other civic organisations to develop and maintain parks. This will be in keeping with the Corporation’s move to encourage residents’ association, civic organisations and private companies to develop and maintain parks in the city.

The Corporation was in the past witness to several incidences of reserve sites coming under illegal occupation. The latest incident involved a father-son duo grabbing a 28-cent land that belonged to the Corporation. The two had also lodged a case against the Mayor S.M. Velusamy.