The process of identifying reserved sites and protect them from misuse or encroachment is continuing and will be a continuous process till all the sites are identified, according to the Coimbatore Corporation.

Following the detection of many cases of encroachment, the Corporation embarked on the identification process a year ago. It enlisted the services of the residential associations and the councillors of each of the 72 wards.

“The response from the people and the councillors is very good. They have identified reserved sites in their colonies or wards and informed the Corporation of these,” Town Planning Officer M. Soundararajan says.

So far, the Corporation has identified about 650 reserved sites that should be used for public purpose facilities that include parks and children's playground. But, there are certainly more sites to be identified, the official says.

“Definitely, the city should have more than 650 residential layouts. So, 650 reserved sites is not the final figure,” he points out. As per rules, 10 per cent of a total layout area should be set aside as reserved site for public purposes. This space is handed over to the Corporation through a gift deed. The Corporation launched an intensive sites identification exercise after coming to know that these public purpose sites had been sold as house sites.

The town planning wing is continuing this process despite the shortage of hands and the objective is 100 per cent identification of the existing sites even as the allocation of those in new layouts will also be watched, the official says. The civic body is appreciative of the activism among residential associations. They have been identifying such sites and also joining the Corporation in fighting cases in the court against the encroachers in order to restore the public purpose status of these spaces.

The official points out that the Supreme Court verdict in the case of the reserved site at Sri Devi Nagar has come as a major boost to what is now a movement to release such sites from the clutches of encroachers. The residents' association in Sri Devi Nagar relentlessly pursued the case up to the Supreme Court and won a ruling that the site should be rid of encroachment and restored as reserved site to the Corporation.

Keywords: Civic efforts

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