The Kolkata Municipal Corporation(KMC) has stopped issuing completion certificates (CC) to real estate projects that do not meet its mandatory tree-planting norms.
Last year, the civic body had mandated that projects on 1.5-acre plots (6,000sq m) would be required to set aside 15% area for trees, those on five acres (20,000sq m) must allocate 20% area or an acre for tree-planting. Similarly, owners of smaller plots would need to proportionately reserve space for greenery.
Last week, the buildings department withheld completion certificate to a housing project in Park Circus after an inspection revealed the developer had failed to plant sufficient numbers of trees. “Any deviation from the rule will lead to non-issue or cancellation of CC,” a buildings department official said.
The CC, issued by the buildings department after a project is completed, is necessary to apply for water and drainage connection. Till now, CC was held back only if there was any deviation from the sanctioned plan. The KMC now wants to ensure that the area marked for planting trees is not left vacant and used as a parking lot or for additional construction after the issuance of the CC.
A senior buildings department official said the civic body had amended rules last year, making it mandatory for developers to plant trees. An inspector has been tasked with visiting construction sites to check out tree-planting. If satisfied, s/he will take a photograph and send it to senior officials at the civic headquarters.
“We have asked our department’s officials and inspectors to visit every construction site and take stock of the planting process. They will need to survey the area used and the tree species as specified by the buildings department. Any deviation must be reported immediately to senior officials at the headquarters,” the official said. Some trees that have been recommended for planting include mahogany, kadam, bakul, badam and fruit-bearing trees like mango, jamun, jackfruit, jamrul and guava.
‘Civic bosses must keep tabs on health of saplings’
The KMC’s inspectors will also need to check the health of the trees once construction is complete.
Advt”The developers have been asked to take help of horticulturists, if need be, to ensure healthy growth of the saplings. We will send our inspectors to the sites once the construction is complete to take stock of the health of the trees planted at the beginning of the construction. The KMC headquarters will decide on the issuance of CC based on the spot visit,” a buildings department official said.
Green activist Bonani Kakkar said the move to restore the city’s greenery was welcome but added that “the civic bosses should keep a watch on the plantation and the aftercare of the saplings”. She pointed out that the developers should try to retain large, old trees on a site before construction.
Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (Credai) Bengal chapter president Siddharth Pansari said large projects were meeting norms, and in some cases, adding more than necessary to differentiate the projects from others.
“We are happy that KMC will now conduct checks to ensure uniformity. All builders must adhere to the rules, look beyond just one project, and work towards a sustainable city,” he said.