Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation, in 2022, identified 250 open space reservation (OSR) sites across the city that are under encroachment. To date, 200 of these sites have not been reclaimed and eviction notices have not been served on the encroachers.
Of the list of encroachments, submitted to the Corporation Commissioner and Mayor in 2022 by Coimbatore-based activist S.P. Thiyagarajan, the Town Planning and Development Department recovered approximately 20% of the land, with a significant portion concentrated in the city’s West Zone.
“We are yet to issue eviction notices, but before that we want to get a full picture of the total number of encroachments in the city. Our survey is under way. Along with this, we also have to identify for what purpose the sites had been reserved,” an official from the Town Planning Department said.
On the other hand, many private entities bypass the Corporation’s guideline on allocating 10% of the layout as OSR site. The 2019 Tamil Nadu Combined Development and Building Rules (TNCDBR) provided an option for developers to purchase OSR sites after paying the guideline value to the Town and Country Planning Department. “Most of them, including malls and apartments, have paid the sum and taken the OSR land too, leaving no space for greenery,” Mr. Thiyagarajan said.
In a recent statement, District Collector Kranthi Kumar Pati announced a plan to transfer all OSR areas into the ownership of local bodies within the next three months. “We will include the older list into the new survey in the next three months,” the official said.