Karnataka: Ban on Kodagu land conversion lifted

Karnataka: Ban on Kodagu land conversion lifted; curbs, buffer zones in place

Land conversion will not be allowed for properties on steep slopes and those within 10 metres of streams. DH File Photo

The state government has decided to lift the ban on conversion of land use in Kodagu, a move that will allow commercial establishments and layouts to flourish in the district that was devastated by landslides two years ago.

Revenue Minister R Ashoka said that the government decided to permit land conversion as both locals and elected representatives wanted the moratorium to be lifted. “That is why the government has decided to permit land conversion again, with some restrictions,” he said. In May 2019, the ban was relaxed to allow conversion for small individual houses.

According to Ashoka, land conversion from agricultural to residential land will be regulated and will not be allowed along buffer zones. Ten metres on each side of a river, stream or storm water drain are classified as buffer zones. Moreover, conversion is prohibited in properties with a steep slopes as houses built on such terrain could collapse during landslides. Land conversion is also prohibited in regions where houses had collapsed in the 2018 floods, he said.

Commercial use

The land can also be converted for commercial purposes. Ahead of any conversion in the district, land owners will have to seek no-objection certificates from deputy commissioners and local gram panchayats, Ashoka said. Only after a committee headed by the DC, which includes a geologist, submits a report can the land be converted, he said.

Land conversion, he said, will be based on the report by the Geological Survey of India. Those that are categorised as red-alert areas will not be converted. The conversion will be regulated so that the district does not face any landslides.

That state had imposed a blanket ban on land conversion in Kodagu following floods and landslides in August 2018. The decision was based on recommendations by multiple organisations which blamed rampant conversion of green spaces for commercial activities for the widespread damage during floods.

The blanket ban was lifted in May last year for houses on lands not exceeding 20 cents.

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