The government is planning to let builders across the State right a wrong — for a fee.
The government is likely to offer blanket regularisation to most of the buildings that have flouted the Kerala Municipal Building Rules in the State. The buildings that were completed by March 31, 2013 will get the concession.
In what is being seen as a step to give legal sanction to illegal constructions, the Urban Affairs Department is working out the finer details of providing sanctions by charging a fine.
A survey conducted by a Vigilance official in the Town Planning Department in four corporations and a few municipal areas in the State had found that 198 out of 286 buildings had violated building rules. It was reported by The Hindu earlier that the Ministry would be seeking to regularise buildings constructed in violation of rules up to December 31, 2008. However, it is learnt that the date has been extended.
The Town Planning Department that used to have on its website a pictorial depiction of buildings that had violated rules, has taken them off and has replaced them with government circulars on the issue. “It would be difficult to put the pictures of all the buildings violating the rules as 60-70 per cent of them are pending sanction”, said a senior official in the department. Violating the building rules seems to have become the norm as most of these violations are officially given sanction after imposing a compounding fee.
Most of the violations happen in the mandatory “setbacks’’ to be maintained from the road for a building, parking facilities, fire safety norms, recreation space, and sewage treatment plants. The setback from the road is decided taking into account the road width and the height of the building. However, many buildings are found to have violated this rule, said an official. All high-rise buildings need to have a 5-metre driveway on all sides as part of fire-safety rules. This is likely to be made mandatory only on two sides as many buildings are found to be in violation of this rule. Buildings with a height above 45 metres need to have more precautions on fire safety. These too have been flouted in many cases.
Some other violations that happen are in the space for recreation. In many cases, areas are converted into parking spaces after the inspections are over while the parking area allotted in the sketches are converted into saleable portions. The width of the staircase, the number of staircases and such other facilities are areas where violations are done.