DP now mandatory for projects involving large-scale excavation

Thiruvananthapuram: The city corporation, which has picked up harsh lessons from the Pangappara tragedy where four migrant labourers lost their lives during construction works, has made development permit mandatory for construction projects which involve large-scale levelling and excavation of land. In an unprecedented move, the town planning committee had insisted on development permit for a project proposed in Palayam and based on site inspection and recommendation of corporation secretary subject to a set of conditions, the committee has recommended issuance of development permit to the project.The project for construction measuring 1924.26 sq.m was earlier issued building permit levying a fee of Rs 27,650. Based on recommendation of town planning committee, the developer will have to pay Rs 24,800 as fee for development permit. It is also stated in the set of conditions that if ever any violation of permit is spotted during the period of construction, stop memo will be issued. The builder has also been directed to take precautions to avert any damage to loss of life and property. There is another condition which says that the builder should also ensure that no kind of loss of property occurs to neighbouring residents. The city corporation has insisted on development permit for a construction project for the first time in seven years after an amendment was inserted in Kerala Municipality Building Rules in 2010. TOI had earlier reported that the builder had developed the plot at Pangappara without mandatory development permit. The plot was dug up to a depth of nearly 25-30 feet, posing serious threat to the stability of buildings there. The city corporation had issued building permit for the two-storey apartment project in 2015 but the need for development permit was completely ignored which led to unscientific land development at Pangappara. It was during the construction of a retaining wall the earth had caved in leading to death of the labourers. A senior corporation official said that development permit is being made mandatory following the Pangappara accident. "Lack of development permit has often led to unregulated excavation defying safety norms and risking human lives," the official said. The committee has also demanded development permit for a three-storey construction under another project at Vanchiyoor. As per section 11 A of Kerala municipality building rules, which deals with approval of site and plans and issue of permit where excavations to a depth of more than 1.5 metres is involved, the builder has to apply for development and building permit. However the engineering wing had seldom complied with this norm considering a general clause which says that land development for construction purpose does not require development permit, however senior officials clearly point out that development permit is mandatory for projects if it involves excavation to a depth more than 1.5 metres.