Exclusive building rules for the high ranges

N.J. Nair

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Exclusive rules for regulating and monitoring the construction of buildings, mainly highrises in the high ranges such as Munnar and Wayanad, will come into force in the State soon. The new rules are being framed for conserving the ecologically sensitive regions which are facing threats from encroachment and construction.

Official sources told The Hindu here that the Town and Country Planning Department had already conducted a preliminary survey in Devikulam, Mangulam, Bison Valley, Chinna Canal, Pallivasal, Santhanpara, Marayur, Kanthallur and Vattavada in Idukki for drawing up the draft rules. As per a directive of the High Court, the government had entrusted the department to prepare a master plan for Munnar in 2007. An expert team headed by the Chief Town Planner is understood to have completed the spadework and prepared the draft guidelines for the master plan. Though the Tourism Department had also taken up the work for preparing its own master plan, now this has also been entrusted with the Town and Country Planning Department. The Local Self-Government Department had also launched a drive to identify unauthorised buildings in Munnar and its surrounding areas.

It has been proposed to impose strict curbs on the construction of multi-storey buildings in places such as Munnar and Wayanad. Layout plans will be cleared only on condition that the structures, be it commercial or residential, do not harm the surroundings in any manner. The buildings should suit the topography. The floor area ratio and coverage norms will be decided soon. Restrictions have been mooted on razing hills for the construction of roads and creation of other infrastructure.

The rules were initially proposed for Munnar, but it has been decided to extend them to other high-range areas considering the recent increase in applications for constructing resorts and commercial buildings in Wayanad. The department has no plans to destroy the existing buildings, but is keen on ensuring a planned development so that it will not have any ecological ramifications, sources said.

To avert rampant construction till the new rules are enforced, the civic bodies in Munnar and Wayanad have been directed to abide strictly by the Kerala Municipal Building Rules that has been introduced in the panchayats, sources said.

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