Tuesday, February 12, 2013

KMBR revisions: what's in it for Cochin

KMBR has been revised!

The govt changed long back, but the real estate market refused to rise up in sentiment. There were far too many hurdles to be over come. How come despite the UDF in govt, the real estate market remains sluggish! That is an untenable idea.
For more buildings to come up, we need more virgin areas connected by better linkages/ roads. Somehow, this Peoples Planning idea wasn't "flexible" or easily worked from the top-down to easily facilitate new roads or liberate new lands where large buildings could be put up. A way around this was needed. (any way, no one has the patience to work the levers of this difficult mechanism and give power away from themselves at great effort!)

The real way forward would be to bring in comprehensive development goals at the State level and give policy guidelines/ directions to local bodies to prepare details physical development plans. But, since we don't carry that kind of competence amongst us, and we need quick fix solutions, how do we sort out this?

Tinker with the KMBR, after-all, it is the KMBR that governs all "buildings" in Kerala! Plus, it is "mercifully" so un-connected with any specific location!


KMBR has been revised! Key revisions?
a. High rise has been redefined. You can now build basement+ ground + 4 floors (conditions apply: you need a smart architect to achieve all that, but legally, it is possible) and still be deemed as low rise building by staying under 16m building height and "building height" has been redefined for the purpose via the KMBR revisions.

b. The width of the approach road to your plot is the key to how much you can build and that has also been brought down to enable you to build more in smaller roads. (if you are unable to provide the mechanism to widen the roads to reasonable widths, then, simply allow more to be built as it is and then hope the pressure would demand/ deliver more road width at the mercy of the market forces!)

Side effect 1: 
Cochin is stuck else where! KMBR is over ridden by local development plans! Cochin's local development plan happens to be an aging document revived many time by direct government orders. So, Cochin doesn't immediately benefit from all this noise.

There are two ways this is likely to be sorted out.

1. The better way: To notify the Master Plan for KCR. This would be the legitimate way and the way in favour of better admn/ proceedure
This looks unlikely at the moment!

2. The most likely way: They (the Govt.) may pass a certain G.O again revising some aspects of the existing Structure Plan so as to accommodate in spirit, the recent liberties provided by the KMBR revisions. This would mean that temporarily, a window period is open for Cochin until a proper Master Plan is notified. That would mean no one would be sincere is getting a Master Plan in place as it would in any way be more restrictive than the liberties provided in the KMBR now!

I don't want to comment on the contents of the KMBR revisions, per se, but it is saddening that such administrative mechanism are employed for quick grievance redressal. This (modifying the KMBR) is certainly not the way to correct the ills of our urban issues. Cochin just happens to be caught in a warp in the process, which in itself isn't flowing smoothly.

Side effect 2:
One particularly notorious (conveniently idiotic, rather!) correction in the KMBR is to be mentioned here:

Item (31) on Page 12.
"In rule 109 B, in sub rule (3), 
(i) for the words "floor area", wherever occur, the words "coverage area" shall be substituted."

This actually means the RWH tank capacity for all buildings is hence forth related not to its total built up area but to its coverage foot print. The idea of RWH is to supplement the consumption of water by the building/ users. It is funny how it can be reduced to just its coverage area especially in the case of multi-storeyed buildings.

Thus moves on our charade of urban management!

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