ALAPPUZHA: The additional chief secretary (local administration) has asked the Alappuzha municipality to receive Rs 34 lakh as penalty for the irregularities in the building construction at Lake Palace resort owned by former transport minister Thomas Chandy. The mun-icipal secretary accepted Rs 17 lakh paid by the company on Friday. The local body has to collect the fine decided by government.
Earlier, the municipality had turned down the state government’s request for reprieve in the penalty of Rs1.17 crore imposed on the resort for constructing illegal structures. However, V.R. Raju, regional joint director, urban affairs department, who conducted an inspection in May, had submitted a report to the government against the findings of the municipality and suggested slashing the fine to Rs34 lakh.
Alappuzha municipal chairman Thomas Joseph said that the council observed that the state government has no right to intervene in the matter and that 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. But the secretary, on the basis of the order, accepted Rs17 lakh in haste on Friday. “ We have decided to call the council to discuss the matter,” the chairman said.
In November 2018, the municipality, based on a joint inspection report, had issued a provisional order to the Water World Tourism Company, promoters of the resort, to demolish or regularise unauthorised buildings in the resort. Later, the resort submitted an application for regularising the unauthorised constructions and the municipality imposed an initial fine of Rs2.73 crore. Officials said that the resort had already paid the fine for the 10 buildings. Regarding the 22 buildings, the resort submitted relevant documents of six structures during hearing. Following this, municipality reduced the penalty to Rs1.17 crore for 16 structures....