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Kerala to amend its Town Planning Act

Changing environment and recent disasters in the state have forced the Kerala government to have a relook at its Kerala Town and Country Planning Act, 2016. The state government wants to make it more responsive to  accommodate the needs arising out of fast paced urbanisation and climate change. The state government has  reportedly set up an eight-member committee to look into the revision of provisions  of KTCPA and draft new guidelines for expenditure, planning and budgeting. The additional chief secretary, local self-government department will be the chairman of the committee.

The latest trigger for the state government to go for revision of the Act was the Kerala floods which rendered thousands of people homeless. The revision has also become necessary in view of the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments. The 73rdand 74thconstitutional amendments give recognition and protection to local governments and in addition each state has its own local government legislation.  Further, flood damage analysis of the buildings and settlements post Kochi floods last year has revealed that many buildings in the flood affected areas were either damaged or collapsed because they were constructed without adequate disaster-resistant features such as plinth and lintel bands, as was recommended in the National Building code.

The newly set up committee will finalise the draft Town and Country Planning Act suitable for development and implementation of master plans compliant to climate change policies and resilient to natural disasters. Existing regulations will also be amended to make them suitable for investments by local bodies to comply with the revised master plans which will also include penal provision for non-complianc e of the provisions.  The committee is likely to come out with draft new laws including guidelines by December 2019. The government has also set up 12-member sub-working committee to help the committee in preparation of revised Act. The sub-working committee will be supported by urban planners and specialists in decentralisation.

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