The controversy over the issuance of a conditional No Objection Certificate (NOC) by the Kochi Corporation to the LuLu group allegedly after it built a bridge across the Edappally canal for its shopping mall is likely to rock the next meeting of the civic body’s Town Planning Committee slated for June 4.
Though the issue has not been included in the agenda for the meeting, the Opposition seems determined to pursue it. “We will definitely take up the issue at the meeting and will insist that the council decision on the matter be enforced. We will ask for an inspection of the site at the earliest and for serving a notice if the conditions based on which the NOC was issued are found violated,” said C.A. Shakeer, CPI councillor and member of the Town Planning Committee.
Though the LuLu group was supposed to apply for NOC before the construction of the bridge, they applied for it only after its completion, said Corporation Secretary Ajit V. Patil.
However, Town Planning Committee Chairman K.J. Sohan said the NOC from the corporation was not needed for the construction of bridge, as the group had already secured it from the Irrigation Department. He said conditions were laid out covering aspects such as side embankment, ensuring flow through the canal and its cleaning. But, no inspections were carried out to verify whether those conditions had been complied with, he said.
Mr. Shakeer, however, contested Mr. Sohan’s claim that NOC from the corporation was not needed for the construction of the bridge. “Why then was the matter discussed and a decision taken to offer conditional clearance to the bridge in the agenda of the meeting of the Town Planning Committee held on September 5, 2011? Also, why was the recommendation of the committee passed by the Council held on October 10, 2011?” Mr. Shakeer asked.
Mr. Shakeer alleged that the Town Planning Committee members were kept in the dark about the letter written by the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) to the corporation in May last year seeking steps to evict encroachments on canal puramboke.
Asked why the corporation did not ask for the demolition of the bridge built without securing the necessary clearances, Mr. Patil said it was the Council which had decided to grant conditional NOC and to slap a fine. He said he was not in a position to comment on the collective decision of the Council.
Mayor Tony Chammany was out of town and not available for comment.
However, the Opposition councillors were also parties to the Council decision to offer conditional NOC to the bridge. Mr. Shakeer said the Opposition was under the impression that the conditions set by the Council had been complied with. “Had the letter written by KMRL come to our notice, we would have definitely raised the issue before,” he said.