india

Civic body rejects govt. order

To reduce penalty imposed on Lake Palace resort

The Alappuzha municipality has rejected the State government’s order to reduce the penalty imposed on the Lake Palace resort.

The civic body has imposed a fine of ₹1.17 crore for constructing structures in the resort beyond the permissible limit. However, the resort appealed to the decision and Urban Affairs Department regional joint director V.R. Raju, who after conducting an inspection in May, submitted a report to the government against the findings of the municipality. It further suggested to reduce the fine imposed on the resort to ₹34 lakh.

Speaking at the council meeting on Wednesday, Alappuzha municipal chairman Thomas Joseph said the regional joint director took the decision to minimise the penalty in haste. The council observed that the State government had no right to intervene in the matter and the resort could file an appeal before the Tribunal for Local Self-Government Institutions against the decision of the municipality.

The council also recommended a Vigilance probe against the regional joint director, who retired a day after submitting the report.

Earlier, in November 2018, the municipality, based on a joint inspection report, issued a provisional order to the Water World Tourism Company, promoters of the resort, of which former Transport Minister Thomas Chandy is a director, to demolish or regularise unauthorised buildings at the resort.

According to the municipal authorities, the joint inspection revealed that the company had constructed 10 buildings, some up to 3,000 sq ft, without the permission of the civic body. Further, the probe found that it extended 22 buildings in the resort without obtaining necessary permission from the authorities concerned.

Later, the resort submitted application for regularising the unauthorised constructions and the municipality imposed an initial fine of ₹2.73 crore.

Officials said the resort had already paid the fine for the 10 buildings constructed without permission. However, the municipality has not yet regularised the structures as the resort failed to produce relevant documents. Regarding the 22 buildings, the resort had submitted relevant documents of six structures during a hearing. Following this, the municipality reduced the penalty to ₹1.17 crore for 16 structures.

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