THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The city corporation, which collects regularization fee to legalize unauthorized constructions in the city, does not keep a record on such buildings, revealed an RTI query by TOI. However, it has been regularizing unauthorized constructions at a decent rate for the past three fiscals. The civic body collected Rs 35 lakh as regularization fee in 2014-15 as per accounts presented in the budget for 2015-16. In 2013-14, the corporation collected Rs 20 lakh by regularizing unauthorized constructions while in 2012-13 it had fetched Rs 18 lakh.
In reply to the RTI application, the corporation has pointed out that it did not keep a record on unauthorized constructions in the city. TOI had asked details on unauthorized constructions following the controversy over allocation of building permit for a high-rise building at Pattoor in violation of norms. However, in the reply corporation made it clear that no record was kept on unauthorized constructions.
A member of the finance standing committee said that unless the corporation keeps a record of unauthorized constructions, it could not have collected regularization fee. "In some cases, the records cannot be disclosed since regularization of a building might prove to be a sensitive issue and hence application is received and processed," the member said.
The officials are clueless on facts like which zone recorded most number of regularizations or if the corporation has identified a place where many unauthorized constructions have been identified. Neither the revenue wing nor the town planning keeps a consolidated data on unauthorized constructions in the city. The civic body can regularize the unauthorized construction if it is built without a valid building permit from the civic body. In case of violation of Kerala municipality building rules (KMBR), regularization is done by state government at an excessively high fee.
An official with the revenue wing said that the recent process of allocating new TC numbers to buildings could help corporation build a data base on unauthorized constructions. "We have marked certain buildings as UA (unauthorized) during the numbering process, however, the data haven't been consolidated yet and until that process is done corporation cannot have a record on unauthorized constructions in the city," the official said.
In 2014, the corporation had issued provisional order for 17 constructions at Vizhinjam saying that they were unauthorized. However, the local body could not go ahead with the demolition drive as the owners filed legal suits winning favorable orders.