Strangled by red tape, resort owner seeks Kerala CM's permission to kill self

Anas A Anees | Pinarayi Vijayan
Anas A Aziz, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan

 Kottayam: Yet another set of businessmen who started an enterprise in Kerala believing the state government's promise of an industry-friendly environment feels duped.

Pathanamthitta native Anas A Aziz and his friends, who began work on a resort in Munnar, allege that the red-tapism and bank loan arrears have forced them to the brink of suicide.

Hoping to find a resolution to their problems, they approached Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan only to see their complaint pushed to the same panchayat that stalled the construction of their resort in 2018 citing a missing No Objection Certificate (NOC).

Anas wrote to the CM requesting permission for him and his family of seven - including his father, mother and grandmother - to commit suicide, a day before their property was auctioned.  

The problem began when the Pallivasal Panchayath secretary issued a stop memo citing the absence of a No Objection Certificate (NOC) when the construction work of the resort in Kallar in Munnar Devikulam was 70 per cent complete.

Anas and his friends bought 78 cents of land in Pallivasal Panchayath in Kallar to build and develop a resort, in 2016. They had all the legal documents required for the construction at the time. However in 2018, the Panchayat secretary issued a stop memo for the works citing the NOC was not obtained. 

Following this, Anas and his friends filed a case and met politicians and officials to resolve the crisis. The Court sought an explanation from the Panchayat. While the construction permit was given, there was no rule that the Collector’s NOC was needed.

Pallivasal Panchaytath informed the Court in December 2018 that the permission for construction was given after checking all the other documents specified in the building rules. Devikulam RDO had issued an order on April 7, 2018, making the Collector’s NOC mandatory, based on which the stop memo was issued, the secretary explained in the Court.  

The panchayat secretary’s report on the Court order to review the action is as follows:

There has been no lapse on the Panchayat’s part in approving the building permit to the complainants complying with the existing laws and rules. However, the stop memo was issued against the works as the directions from the revenue department are to be considered with due importance. Until another direction, the earlier decision need not be reviewed.

“Meanwhile, they are not giving a clear response to why a No Objection Certificate cannot be issued,” said Anas, speaking to Manorama Online. 

“We were told that it is the Government’s policy. After this order was issued, no one got an NOC for building construction. More than 300 have been affected by this action,” he added.

Anas bought this land along with his friends and relatives, while he was still working in Saudi Arabia. He had taken a loan of Rs 1.25 crore from the Koothattukulam branch of Canara Bank in 2017. The stop memo was issued on April 16, 2018 when only 2 months were left to start operations at the resort. However, the building construction permit mentioned in the stop memo has no connection with their building, and it was cancelled in 2016 itself, the complainants claimed.

“All our earnings and savings have been exhausted for the court case and to repay debts. The houses have been sold and we currently live in a rented house.”

At this stage, the bank has given a notice that Rs 1.83 lakh must be repaid towards the principal and the interest. With this, the complainants have taken a stand that they will have to suicide unless the Government intervenes urgently.

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