Help is at hand from the Kochi Corporation for land owners who are unable to maintain vacant plots and find it difficult to prevent them from falling into disuse and turning into garbage dumps.

The Corporation is compiling information on vacant plots and the owners will be informed about the condition of their holdings.

All that the owners have to do is just inform the civic authorities about the location of the plot. The land owners who are staying away from the city or even abroad can avail themselves of this offer and the cost for the cleaning up operation can be remitted to the Corporation. Payments can either be made online or by way of a bank draft.

The civic authorities will soon come up with an announcement regarding the programme. The Kochi Corporation is compiling information on vacant plots in the city and the land owners will be informed about the condition of their holdings. While the holdings of those who respond to the call will be cleaned up, the Corporation will initiate legal action in the case of those who fail to respond despite the reminders.

The reluctant land owners will be first served a notice asking them to clean up their holdings. If they refuse to comply with the directive in the notice, the Corporation will take up the responsibility of cleaning the plots and the cost incurred will be levied from the land owners, said T.K. Ashraf, the chairman of the Town Planning Standing Committee of the Kochi Corporation.

The Corporation will deploy excavators and trucks to remove the garbage from these sites and the cost incurred for the process will be transferred to the landowner as a liability in the revenue and land records through the local village offices. In such cases, the land owner will have to clear the liabilities for carrying out any transaction involving the property, he said.

The civic body is planning to issue the notification fixing the liability on the owner of the holding as there are no other legal means for recovering the cost from land owners who are either abroad or not residing in Kochi, he said.

A large number of vacant plots in the city are serving as unauthorised sites for dumping of municipal waste. The decaying waste often poises health risks to the city dwellers as insects and rodents breed there. Some plots in the city, which don’t have outlets to drain away rainwater, serve as the breeding ground for mosquitoes. The mosquitoes that breed in these pools undermine the efforts of the authorities to get rid of the pest population.

The scheme is being designed for supporting people to clean up the plots which are causing hardship to the city residents. It may not be possible for a person based in Dubai or other countries to come down and carryout the cleaning works. The project will help those sections of the society to keep their holdings clean with the support of the Corporation, said Ajit B. Patil, the secretary of the Corporation.

The Kerala Municipalities Act empowers the civic body to enter such sites in the city, to clean them and to recover the cost from the land owners. It is also the primary responsibility of the owners of the holdings to keep them clean. In the first phase, the civic body will help people to clean the city and later, it will move to punitive action, said Mr. Patil.

If the land owners are happy to do the job, the Corporation will let them do it. The civic administration will step in when people refuse to do the job, he said.

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