A hurdle now is the formation of a town planning committee to study and compile some 100 suggestions put forward by the public and then submit them as prescribed by the town planning rules.

The much-awaited Thiruvananthapuram Master Plan is still caught in a web of administrative procedures.

Since the plan is a blueprint for the development of the city over the next couple of decades, long-drawn procedures are expected — even minor projects are delayed for months as they wait for the elusive sanction. But with the master plan, the City Corporation and the Department of Town and Country Planning seem to have reached a hurdle over one crucial step in the multi-tier process.

Everything seemed to work like clockwork, even very fast, considering that the deadline for submission of suggestions and objections was June 6, merely six days after a public seminar on the plan was held. The Corporation now has to form a town planning committee to study and compile some 100 suggestions put forward and then submit them as prescribed by the town planning rules.

Seemingly straightforward, because the Corporation need only form a three-member team to pass the plan to the next player, the Regional Town Planning Department. But the Corporation wants two experts unaffiliated to it on the committee. For taking them on, government approval is required. The procedures for approval, however, take their course.

“We had put in a request much earlier and unless they [government] grant the sanction, we will not be able to proceed [with the formation of the committee],” Mayor K. Chandrika told The Hindu.

No special meeting of the Corporation Council has been held to discuss the master plan, though brief mentions of it were made during some of the regular meetings. Once the town planning committee approves the plan, the Regional Town Planner must scrutinise the suggestions before forwarding them to the Chief Town Planner. The official will work on the draft document, weave in the suggestions and alter the plan in compliance with the building rules and the construction policies before returning it to the Corporation Council. The council will then need to pass it, granting its final approval for the document that will define development of the city till 2031.

The one step afterwards is for the government to sanction the modified draft, which will then announce the master plan’s arrival. This will effectively nullify the norms dictated by the previous master plan sanctioned in 1971. The delay is having ramifications even on the present administrative functioning of the Corporation — for instance, in the issue of building permits.

At the council meeting last week, Kattayikonam councillor G. Vinod said people in his ward were not being issued permits as the Corporation engineers cited lack of clarity on demarcation of green zones in the area. An engineer of the Corporation says the provisions of the old master plan will apply until the new plan is sanctioned. Even so, there is a delay.

Requests for permits from wards such as Mr. Vinod’s, which did not figure in the initial plan, cast a shadow of doubt. By law, individual requests for permit has to be passed by the council, a Corporation engineer says.