Staff Reporter

BSUP project hampered by lack of land documents

LSGIs to prepare report on rehabilitation

Applicants can get aid by submitting possession deed

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The city Corporation will soon launch a survey in the coastal wards to identify families and potential beneficiaries of government-sponsored mass housing schemes currently living within the area falling under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ).

The Corporation has taken up the survey following an order issued by the Department of Local Self-Government directing local self-government institutions (LSGIs) to prepare a detailed report on the rehabilitation of residents in the CRZ area.

The CRZ zoning regulations, as well as the lack of valid land ownership records among beneficiaries, had emerged as a major hurdle to the implementation of a mass housing project taken up by the Corporation under the Basic Services for the Urban Poor (BSUP) project in the coastal wards of the city. The majority of applicants who applied for housing financial assistance under the scheme could not make it to the list, as the eligibility criteria excluded those who did not possess land of their own.

The Local Self-Government Department is now planning to take up the issue of CRZ regulations by identifying coastal communities whose traditional dwelling habitat falls in the CRZ area. A senior official told The Hindu that the Department hopes to bank on a particular clause in the CRZ notification that provides scope to upgrade houses of traditional dwellers within the CRZ area.

Coastal dwellers

“In Kerala, fishing communities fall under this category of traditional coastal dwellers.

“So if we identify such families, we can use this provision to include them in housing schemes like EMS and BSUP after taking up the matter with the CRZ management authorities concerned,” the official said.

The coastal BSUP project is aimed at providing financial assistance of up to Rs 1.15 lakh to 5,500 families from 14 coastal wards in the city. Although the Corporation received 4,500 applications under the scheme, only 750 applications could be successfully processed so far.

Meanwhile, the Local Self-Government Department has decided to address the issue of lack of valid land documents by extending the project to applicants who avail themselves of possession certificates from revenue authorities. Following a request made by the city Corporation, the department has decided to give concession in the building permit rules to project beneficiaries who submit possession certificates. Under the existing building rules, building permit can only be given to a land owner who possesses either a title deed or a valid land document.

“Applicants can now get financial assistance under the scheme by submitting the possession certificate along with the building plan at the Corporation by March 2010,” said Corporation Welfare standing committee S.A. Sundar.