Civic body not to wait for RTP approval for certain projects

The city Corporation will not wait for approval from the Regional Town Planner (RTP) to give permission for residential buildings projects having an area of less than 3,000 sq ft and having not more than three floors.

The Corporation council, which met here on Thursday, unanimously authorised its standing committee for Town Planning to process applications seeking sanction for such buildings. The standing committee was asked to give permission without waiting for RTP approval after carrying out the required site visits.

The issue came up when Chairperson of Standing Committee for Town Planning Vanaja Rajendra Babu sought the permission of the council for individual applications that were approved by the RTP.

Chairman of Standing Committee for Welfare Palayam Rajan and few other councillors then pointed at the “ambiguities” surrounding the draft master plan. They said the current procedure of getting RTP approval for buildings less than 3,000 sq ft delayed the processing of applications considerably and forced the applicants to go through hardships.

Responding to the apprehensions raised by the members, Mayor K. Chandrika informed the council that the Corporation need not seek permission from the RTP from now on and could give the sanction on its own.

Suchitwa Mission

The council also criticised the Suchitwa Mission for creating “hurdles” in implementing garbage management projects such as biogas plants and the ‘Pattoor model’ biomechanical composting units in the city. Chairperson of the Standing Committee for Health S. Pushpalatha said the mission was delaying clearance for projects citing “flimsy grounds.”

Proposals for setting up biomechanical composting units at eight places and biogas plants at 41 places were pending before the mission, she said. Ms Chandrika and councillor K. Maheswaran Nair endorsed the views expressed by Ms. Pushpalatha.

Chairman of the Standing Committee for Works V. S. Padmakumar told the council about the allocation of maintenance work of street lights to contractors working for the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB).

Maintenance work had been assigned to KSEB contractors at Poonthura, Beach, Manakkadu, Nalanchira, Petta, Vellayambalam, Cantonment, Ulloor, Kudappanakunnu, Kesavadasapuram, Sreevaraham, Thiruvallam, Fort, Karamana, Nemom, Puthanchantha, Thycaud, Thirumala, and Vattiyoorkavu. The contractors had been asked to attend the works with immediate effect, he said.

Heated exchanges

The council saw heated exchanges between councillors belonging to the United Democratic Front and Left Democratic Front on alleged irregularities by the Corporation in implementing the micro-insurance scheme of the Life Insurance Corporation through Akshaya centres.

The issue came up when Deputy Mayor Happy Kumar took up subjects related to finance. Congress councillor K. Suresh Kumar said the Mayor cannot bury the case merely by removing the person allegedly involved in the “scam.”

If the Mayor did not initiate criminal proceedings and order a Vigilance Inquiry into the alleged irregularities, it would give an impression that she was trying to protect the person involved in the case. This sparked immediate protest from the UDF side only to be countered by the LDF members.

Ms Chandrika said appropriate action would be initiated based on the internal probe ordered by the civic body.

The LDF and UDF also debated the case being registered against the husband of a Congress councillor on a complaint filed by the Mayor. The statement by councillor C.R. Sini that the Mayor had lodged a false complaint against her husband of obstructing official work and using discourteous comments while on a field visit at Ulloor ward created heated exchange between the two factions.