Amendments to the Interim Development Order could become difficult with the notification of an Ordinance this year
Amendments to the Interim Development Order (IDO), which governs the awarding of building permits and all kinds of land use in Thiruvananthapuram Corporation area in the absence of a sanctioned master plan, could become difficult with the notification of the Kerala Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 earlier this year.
With the passing of a draft master plan too some way away, the issues faced regarding new constructions in some areas might not be resolved soon.
The amendments were proposed last year considering the issues faced by quite a few city residents whose lands were wrongly marked as meant for public use or as paddy fields or included in specific zones, making it impossible for them to get building permit applications. In such cases, the file has to be forwarded to the Regional Town Planner’s office for clearance. The amendments were meant to simplify this process and take such decisions at the Corporation itself.
According to town planning officials, there is no specific clause in the new amendments which allows for an amendment to the IDO.
“Earlier, the IDO was specifically mentioned in the act. The new amendments do not specify the same. In case an IDO has to be issued or amended, clarification has to be sought from the government. If it was passed last year in the Corporation council, it would have worked fine. Now, it might be difficult,”said a source.
Last year, before the local body elections, the amendments to the IDO were presented in the council, but were not passed as the opposition demanded more clarity on it. With a new council taking charge after the elections, the issue of the IDO or the master plan is yet to become a point of discussion. On Tuesday, a meeting is set to be held in the city Corporation in which the town planning officials will familiarise the new members with the proposed draft master plan and issues concerning it.
The Thiruvananthapuram draft master plan 2031, the previous version of the plan, was withdrawn in February 2014 following widespread public protests in the outer areas of the city, especially in Kattayikonam and Attipra, after people found their requests for building permits getting rejected, as some of these areas were marked as strategic zones in the master plan.
After its withdrawal, land use has been mainly governed by the IDO, based on which building permit applications were either granted or rejected. The work on a revised draft master plan began early in 2017, with the deadline getting extended every year. The draft was almost ready towards the end of 2020, but with the Corporation officials almost fully immersed in COVID-19-related work, the master plan was put on the back burner. The local body elections and the assembly elections in quick succession also prevented any action being taken on this.