Staff Reporter

Action against illegal structures

Parking spaces being used for commercial purposesMore inspections in the coming days

KOCHI: The Town Planning Standing committee of Kochi Corporation has issued notices to major builders in the city who have reportedly converted parking lots in their buildings into commercial space.

This follows an inspection by the committee in major commercial spaces in the city. The committee issued directions and notices to five major builders who were found violating the mandatory `parking space' provision. They have all been asked to convert the spaces back to parking lot, said E.M. Sunilkumar, chairman of the Town Planning Standing committee of the Corporation.

"If the builders refuse to abide by the directions of the Corporation, they will have to pay commercial tax for the space. Some builders have also been issued notices for not obtaining the necessary clearances from the Corporation," he said.

The issue of illegal conversion of parking lots into commercial space had rocked the civic body some time back with several councillors raising the issue in the Corporation council. Many urban planners have pointed out that the illegal conversion of parking space has led to traffic snarls in the city as customers park their cars along the roads.

"The committee plans to conduct more inspections in buildings on MG Road, Broadway and Rajaji Road. This would be part of the ongoing drive of the civic body against illegal constructions in the city," he said.

Meanwhile, the Kochi Corporation permitted a major jewellery group to function from its newly constructed shop after the group paying around Rs.16 lakhs as tax to the civic body. The Town Planning Committee of the Corporation had ordered closure of the jewellery after it was found that the shop functioned without obtaining mandatory clearance from the civic body.

"The jeweller was permitted to run the shop after obtaining all mandatory clearance and payment of license fee to the Corporation," Mr. Sunilkumar said. He has approached the Kochi Mayor demanding action against the Corporation officials who gave occupancy certificate for a shopping mall near Medical Trust hospital even when the Town Planning Committee was scrutinising the case.