Corporation report absolves its officials, blames builders

Trouble awaits officials of the Kochi Corporation who aided unauthorised constructions in the city.

Rejecting a report prepared by the Kochi Corporation absolving its officials and blaming the builders for violation of building laws, the State government has sought a “precise and clear” report from the civic body. The government has sought detailed information on violations and the particulars of officials involved in the deals.

It was earlier reported in these columns that the corporation had drawn up a list of 21 officials who had issued permits and other certificates to 34 buildings, which were constructed in violation of the Kerala Municipal Building Rules and other laws.

The blatant violation of building rules was exposed by the Vigilance Wing of the Senior Town Planner’s Office. The State government had sought the views of the civic body following the vigilance investigation.

‘Vague report’

Manjalamkuzhi Ali, Minister for Urban Affairs, said the “Kochi Corporation’s report was rejected as it was a vague one.” “The file has been returned to the civic body asking for specific details of violations and the officials responsible for allowing such violations in the city. Responsibility has to be specifically fixed on erring officials,” Mr. Ali said.

Many instances of violation of buildings rules were detected across the State in the vigilance investigation. The government is looking for specific information on violations to act against the offenders, he said.

Though an amnesty scheme was announced three years ago to regularise illegal constructions in the State, hardly 20 per cent of the violations were regularised. It should be with the support of the officials that the unauthorised constructions are evading action, which needs to be checked, he said.

According to vigilance officials, the corporation officials who issued occupancy certificates for buildings which were constructed violating the rules would be held responsible for their illegal act.

The argument that the builders are responsible for violations does not hold water as it is the liability of the corporation officials to verify whether the structure was constructed according to the approved plan.

Occupancy certificates should be issued to buildings only when they are completed as per the approved plan and observing all mandatory regulations.

The serious violations of building rules include construction of the structure above the permitted floor area ratio, shortage of open space in front of the buildings and setback space on four sides of the buildings. Tough action will be initiated in cases involving serious violations, he said.

More In: Kochi