15 flats complexes are under the scanner for rule violations. The KSCZMA will oppose the Kochi Corporation’s move

The Kerala State Coastal Zone Management Authority (KSCZMA) will oppose the Kochi Corporation’s move to provide building number to an apartment complex coming up on the banks of the Chilavannur lake in violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms.

The apartment project is among 15 complexes under the scanner of the authority for violating the Environment Protection Act and Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms.

KSCZMA sources told The Hindu that the civic body has sought its response on providing building number to the project based on a directive given by the Kerala High Court on a writ petition filed by the project proponent.

The court had asked the Corporation to dispose of the application after hearing the respondents including the State Coastal Zone Management Authority.

The Kochi Corporation had earlier issued a stop memo to the company as per the report submitted by an expert team of the authority that massive reclamation was carried out by the builders in the ecologically-sensitive region. Chilavannur backwater is part of Vembanad lake, which is listed as one of the Ramsar sites in the State.

In its report, the investigators had recommended the civic body to issue stop memo to all the ongoing projects in the area coming up in violation of the provisions under the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2011.

Sources pointed out that the Kochi Corporation has sent a letter to the KSCZMA seeking its opinion on providing the building number to the project coming up on the banks of Chilavannur lake. The authority is expected to file its reply before Wednesday.

The expert team of KSCZMA had earlier found that the builders, whose apartment projects (that were initiated before 2011) were worth over Rs.5 crore, should have taken clearance from the Government of India before going ahead with the projects.

No clearance

It was found that no project coming under this category had received such a clearance. Experts also found that the floor area ratio of majority of the projects had crossed the upper limit of 2.5.

The authority has compiled the details of encroachments and CRZ violations that have come up near the Chilavannur lake since 2002 using Google maps and satellite images. Satellite images showed that these stretches were swampy areas before the construction of the apartments began in the region.

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