After high-rises that came up in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms, attention is now on hundreds of building permits that were cleared in Maradu municipality, the hotbed of CRZ violations in the State.
In a mammoth exercise, over 1,800 building permits issued by the Maradu municipality during a five-year period have come under the scanner.
The Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority (KCZMA) has constituted three special teams to scrutinise building permits issued by the Maradu municipality in five years between February 2013 and 2017. The decision on the inspection was taken on the instructions of the Kerala High Court.
The court had earlier directed the Chief Town Planner to verify all building permits issued during the said period. It was suspected that the permits were cleared by the local body without forwarding them to the KCZMA. Incidentally, Maradu is located on the banks of the ecologically-sensitive Vembanad lake.
For the record, the Supreme Court had ordered the demolition of four apartment complexes, which were constructed on the banks of the lake in violation of CRZ norms, within a month. The builders had claimed that they had begun construction of the complexes after obtaining permits from the local body.
Any application for permit for construction of buildings in areas coming under the CRZ regime needs to be cleared by the KCZMA. It can only be after obtaining a no-objection certificate from the authority that a coastal local body can consider the application. However, it was reported that none of the nearly 1,800 applications was sent to the KCZMA for verification and certification, sources said.
An uphill task awaits the special squads as they, along with officials of the local body, have to individually verify all permits that were cleared during the period. Each file has to be checked for violations. There could be genuine and proper applications, besides violations. After sieving through the files and identifying permits that were issued in violation of CRZ rules, officials will do a ground-truthing. The holdings where permits have been issued for construction will be physically verified to find out the exact nature of violations and related details, sources pointed out.
The court has set a deadline of six months for the verification process.