The government will examine the need for further changes to the Kerala Municipal Building Rules to address any shortcomings, Minister for Urban Affairs Manjalamkuzhi Ali has said.
Replying to a submission moved by V.S. Achuthanandan in the Assembly on Wednesday, he said the rules had been amended to ensure transparency, eliminate malpractices in the real estate sector and minimise the scope for violation of environmental laws.
Moving the submission, Mr.Achuthanandan said the amendments had led to the violation of the National Building Code and environmental laws.
He said the setback relaxation in the amended rules and the dilution of open space regulations for high-rise constructions were unscientific and posed a danger to neighbouring buildings at many places.
Mr.Achuthanandan said the permission granted for high-rise apartments near narrow roads would affect fire-fighting in urban areas.
The Minister said the amendments were introduced to address the slowdown in the construction sector. “Investment and employment opportunities had gone down and prices of apartments were going up. Many municipalities had reported a drop in revenue. The flaws in the municipal building rules forced construction companies to turn their attention to rural areas, resulting in the reclamation of hills and wetlands with serious long-term consequences for the environment.”
Mr.Ali said the government was open to further changes in the rules. “The Cabinet subcommittee set up for the purpose can look into the need for amendments to address any shortcomings,” he said.
Minister for Panchayats M.K. Muneer told the House that grama panchayats would be allowed to carry over the unspent amount from the funds earmarked for development of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes to the next financial year.
Intervening in the debate on a submission moved by K.Radhakrishnan, he said coordination committees led by MLAs would keep a constant tab on the utilisation of SC/ST development funds by panchayats from next year. Review meetings would be held every three months, he said.
Minister for SC/ST Welfare A.P. Anilkumar said the panchayats had reported poor utilisation of the SC/ST development funds. While block panchayats had spent 60 per cent of the allocated funds, grama panchayats spent only 28 to 32 per cent, and corporations utilised even less.
The Minister said the government would take steps to ensure better utilisation of the SC/ST development funds.
Earlier, moving the resolution, Mr.Radhakrishnan said the lack of coordination with departments was responsible for the poor utilisation of funds by local bodies.