Changes in building rules likely in a few months: Babu

The State government will not dilute rules on filling up paddy fields for private use, Minister for Excise and Ports K. Babu has said. However, rules permitted conversion of fields lying fallow for public use, based on a few conditions.

He was inaugurating an organisation named Kerala Land Infrastructure Developers’ Association here on Saturday. “The anomalies in fixing land value will be rectified. A Cabinet sub-committee has been appointed to look into the issue. The government will also bring about practical solutions to issues such as registration duty,” Mr. Babu said, adding that the government intended to bring about some changes in building rules within a few months.

On the controversy over using five per cent of plantation land for tourism-related activities, he said buildings could be built on only 10 per cent of the assigned land. The buildings must affect the aesthetics of the place.

Backing the demand to extend more powers to the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA), Mr. Babu said the agency must be converted into a metropolitan authority, since it played a key role in executing planned urbanisation in Kochi.

In his address, former judge of the Supreme Court Cyriac Joseph said that the merits and demerits of each project must be discussed, before a decision was taken. “Peoples’ representatives are often unable to decide or even speak freely because of the influence exerted by pressure groups. Projects must abide by environment norms. Rules must be amended to be in sync with the times,” he said.

On the ongoing agitations against the high-speed rail corridor, Mr. Joseph said most of the protesters were unaware of the details of the initiative, which was aimed at transporting people from one end of the State to the other in high-speed trains.