Residents of panchayats in the peripheral areas of Thiruvananthapuram rejoiced when the panchayats were made part of Thiruvananthapuram Corporation a few years back. At least some of them would be ruing it now, after the confusion over restrictions on the construction of buildings in some areas.

As per the Draft Master Plan of the Corporation, areas in the vicinity of institutions such as the VSSC, Technopark and Brahmos are marked as ‘Strategic Importance Zones’.

Residential construction in these areas would be allowed only after taking into consideration the restrictions on height, area, and other conditions as specified by the institutions.

Since last month, building permits in the newly added wards are being issued as per the Draft Master Plan. Close to 30 such applications are pending in various zonal offices of the Corporation as they come under these strategic zones.

The building inspector of Attipra ward, comprising parts of Technopark and VSSC, said more than 10 applications have been held up in the ward.

“For the old wards, permits are being granted as per the old sanctioned master plan. But for the newly added wards, we depend on the Draft Master Plan. We are yet to get the exact survey numbers from the Town Planning Department of the areas under the strategic zones and green strips.

“As these areas are just shaded in the master plan, we have problems with applications for areas closer to these zones’ borders,” said K.S. Jayachandrakumar, executive engineer (Projects) of the city Corporation.

V.S. Padmakumar, chairperson of the Works Standing Committee, had raised the issue through an adjournment motion at the council meeting on September 28. As per this, a unanimous decision was taken to permit the construction in areas up to 300 square metres.

A Corporation official said this ‘view’ of the Corporation was yet to become a final decision. As of now, the situation could remain the same until the draft plan is sanctioned.

“The only way out now is for the individual cases to be passed through the Corporation council,” said Mr. Jaychandrakumar.

But S. Ajay Kumar, Town Planner, who was part of the team that prepared the draft report, said there was no need for such confusion in strategic zones as there was literally no objection to residential buildings in these areas.

“Anyone who wants to build a house there can get an NOC and proceed easily. The land required for the expansion of these institutions has already been acquired. Brahmos has even clarified that there is no restriction in the area. This looks like a small technical issue. The Corporation Secretary can clear these directly,” says Mr. Ajay Kumar.