The Supreme Court’s recent ordinance led to the demolition of some apartments in Cochin for defying CRZ (Coastal Regulation Zone) norms. This has raised questions concerning whether the concerned builders or apartment owners knew such norms, to begin with.
The KSCZMA (Kerala State Coastal Zone Management Authority) filed an appeal recently to have these buildings demolished, and the court verdict followed that. After the verdict, many apartment owners stated that they did not know that builders breached the norms, and that they had been living there for close to 10 years.
Anyways, this incident has made it more important for future buyers to consider many aspects of construction, including the following.
Ashkar Khader, an attorney specializing in environmental matters, stated that the basic thing one can perform before the purchase is checking whether it comes under the area.
As per 1986’s Environment Protection Act, the MoEF (Ministry of Environment and Forests) released a notice for costal area activities’ regulation. Under this notification, the CRZ is a coastal ground ranging as far as 500 meters from the HTL (High Tide Line).
As per a 1991 notification, coastal expanses of bays, seas, rivers, backwaters, and creeks have been considered a CRZ. Besides, these have been categorized into four zones, segregating the land as per their eco-sensitivity.
Ashkar Khader said, “An easy way to identify CRZ areas is to refer to the CRZ map, which is published by the Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority (KCZMA). Through the map, one can also check, under which category of the CRZ does a certain land fall under.”
Potential buyers should verify whether the proposed project area falls in the government land. Ashkar says that the potential purchaser can access the said detail by verifying the documents in their village office.
Ashkar said, “When we buy a flat, we, generally, do not look beyond the title deed. And especially if it’s a big project, we tend to go ahead with the assumption that everything is in order.”
As per the lawyer, prospective purchasers also have to confirm that real estate developers have the construction permit for that area.
You can access everything related to buying an apartment, including legal information such as CRZ maps. It is not only about purchasing a building near a body of water, but buyers should remember certain factors. They should have some basic things, including the scope of the project development, plus the title, checked by a skilled attorney. They should go ahead with the buy only after getting clearance from that lawyer.