Violations found as revenue officials inspect structures to number them for tax assessment

Over 1,000 unauthorised structures have been identified among the buildings dotting the cityscape, including at MG Road, the commercial hub of the city.

The illegal constructions surfaced when revenue officials of the Kochi Corporation inspected buildings in the city to number them for tax assessment.

“Illegal constructions were identified in many parts of the city, including MG Road, and civic officials are looking into the details of violations,” said B. Bhadra, Deputy Mayor, Kochi Corporation.

Higher figure likely

The number of illegal buildings is likely to go up once the numbering process is complete. Around 85 per cent of the structures have been numbered till now. The structures identified by civic officials as illegal were assigned UA (Unauthorised) numbers, indicating their legal status, a civic official said.

The numbering scheme is being carried out as part of the new floor area-based tax regime proposed by the State government. The exact scale of violations in building rules and unauthorised constructions can be obtained only when the building plan and tax documents of individual houses are verified with the details of the existing structure, Ms. Bhadra said.

The extent of revenue loss due to illegal constructions can be calculated only after the State government comes out with the new building tax norms. The civic body is awaiting a government order to take stock of the situation. The State government had recently put on hold the proposal to roll out the new tax regime, she said.

Any alternations made to the legally valid structure, such as the construction of additional floors, extensions and development of new structures without obtaining the permission of the local body, would be treated as unauthorised construction. The changes introduced inside the approved structure, however, do not amount to violation, Ms. Bhadra said.

Most of the buildings in the city have been assigned numbers by revenue officials. The process will be completed within a fortnight, said a senior official of the Revenue wing. Besides unauthorised modifications, the officials have also stumbled upon some unauthorised structures constructed without obtaining any permission from the local body, he said.

The estimation of violations is an uphill task for the local body as it requires dedicated teams, including persons with some civil engineering background, to measure the floor area of the structures and compare the data with the approved plans of the buildings. A government decision is also required for hiring professionals with engineering backgrounds for the job, he said.

Legal measures

Building owners will be slapped with fines for regularising the structures, once the violations are confirmed. The buildings will be demolished if the builder refuses to pay the fine and get the structure regularised, Ms. Bhadra said.

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