THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The town planning committee, which convened the meeting of city corporation’s special squad here on Thursday following detection of parking norms violations, producing of fake building numbers and tax evasion by many commercial buildings in the city, noted that only 10 owners have so far responded to the notice issued by the corporation in this regard. As many as 32 establishments were inspected and served notices in January. Almost a month after the notices were served, no response has been reported from 22 establishments. Some of them have communicated that their owners are abroad and that they are not in a position to furnish the original building plan and conditions agreed by them at the time of allocation of building permit and issuance of occupancy certificate. The committee has now decided to affix notices on these buildings in a visible manner citing that non cooperation from their part and no submission of explanation in response to the notice would lead to cancellation of the building numbers. The town planning committee has collected details of all the buildings which were inspected from tax assessment registers. The total area, plinth area, commercial space, number of floors and tax being paid were collected. The compilation process revealed that some of the building numbers produced by the owners were not recorded in tax assessment register proving that such numbers were fabricated and the building was altered rendering it unauthorized. The officials said that there were cases in which number was obtained for a small commercial space and a larger area was then used for commercial purpose, without ensuring mandatory parking space and by evading tax. It was also found that a building which functioned as a hotel in Kuravankonam paid an annual tax of just Rs 46. The revenue wing will take over such cases of tax evasion and penalty will be levied from such buildings quoting relevant sections of Kerala Municipality Act.
The special squad is working on assessing the commercial area of each building based on details garnered from the tax assessment register. The mandatory parking space for respective commercial area will be calculated and if this area is found inadequate in the buildings for which notices have been served, action will be taken, which will amount to cancellation of building numbers and hefty fines as applicable to unauthorised constructions. Palayam Rajan, chairman, town planning committee, said that the special squad will do another round of inspection and compile a final report by the end of this month. The special squad has been constituted comprising executive engineer of central zone, three assistant engineers, assistant revenue officer, two revenue inspectors and bill collectors of the wards where inspection was done.
February 14, 2020