The Karnataka government has relaxed regulations banning the conversion of land in Kodagu district, and now allows small landowners to build their homes by converting agricultural land.
"Land conversion for commercial purpose in Kodagu is still banned. The state government, however, has allowed construction of individual homes in an area of 20 cents, as long as it is not in a vulnerable region," Kodagu Deputy Commissioner Annies Kanmani confirmed.
Small landowners with up to 20 cents of land in non-vulnerable areas of the district can now convert their agricultural land for building individual houses. Vulnerable areas include areas close to the river and slope areas of the district.
The land will be thoroughly surveyed by the tahsildar. The survey report (conducted by the tahsildar) will be reviewed by the Deputy Commissioner under Section 95 of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act of 1964 before granting conversion, according to a press release issued by the Principal Secretary of Revenue Department.
The new rules still prohibit landowners from building resorts or homestays, and only allow the construction of individual houses.
The regulations over land use were tightened in November 2018 based on recommendations made by the Geographical Survey of India (GSI) three months after the district was ravaged by floods and landslides. Based on the regulations, Kodagu district authorities rejected over 693 applications in the last five months to convert land for commercial use.
The district authorities also requested the state government to allow individuals looking to construct houses in non-vulnerable areas in the district to be able to convert their land.
"We welcome the decision to allow individual houses to be built. There are some genuine cases where people are looking to build a house for them or their family," said Col. Cheppudira Muthanna, President of the Coorg Wildlife Society (CWS).
However, he added that the ban on conversion of land in the district is a much-needed move and it should not be revoked.
With inputs from Story Infinity