SOME POLICY TIPS FOR KERALA

Land utility of the parcels of land should be improved to facilitate more human development. Land utility can be calculated based on the undivided ownership of land. More undivided owners contribute to more land utility. This is to encourage more number of people to use the facilities provided in the land. Government land is having the highest land utility as the undivided ownership is vested with the entire public. Land occupied by the apartment complexes are having more land utility as facilities provided are used by many.

Accessibility of the parcels of land in cities should be given top priority by providing good quality road network/ mass transport systems Accessibility has exponential function towards environmental efficiency as it encourages human development due to nearness while it reduces the ecological foot print by reduction in fossil fuel consumption.

Reduction of per capita builtup footprint reduces the ecological footprint. This can be achieved by encouraging vertical development which in turn reduces the revenue expenditure of local bodies while there is increase in revenue receipts. Vertical development curbs urban sprawl to rural areas which saves thousands of hectares of farm land.

To encourage planned-compact high density development resulting in more land utility, accessibility and less per capita built up footprint leaving the agricultural suburbs undisturbed.

Property taxation system also can be reformed by taxing less for areas having high environmental efficiency ( areas having high land utility, high accessibility, low per capita built up footprint and areas which are continuously developed). This is to ensure human development with the least ecological footprint.

Vacant land/ vacant buildings in environmentally efficient areas shall be taxed exorbitantly to encourage leasing out and thus to achieve human development rather than remaining non-performing.

Buildings in environmentally less efficient areas ( those areas/ buildings which are having less accessibility, less land utility(due to single ownership) and more per capita built up shall be taxed exorbitantly to discourage developments there and to preserve the ecosystems for improving the productivity/ biocapacity.

Remote sensing and GIS based decision support systems are invariably required to identify the areas/buildings with high environmental efficiency.

Scientific rain water harvesting and artificial recharge of ground water shall be given top priority to slow down the run off after rainfall and to ensure round- the- year availability of fresh water in river systems and underground water in wells which ensures less energy consumption and wastage of time.

All types of energy conservation measures and use of renewable energy shall be encouraged to reduce the energy footprint.

District/metropolitan area perspective plan must be made compulsory for scientific fund allotment on the principles of regional planning concepts and to receive funds based on merit of the land.

Metro rail corridor of Greater Kochi (and other mass transport systems) shall be supported with high density development at walkable distance based on environmental efficiency and carrying capacity.

Kerala paddy and wetland act should be amended to incorporate the concepts of EE and CC. Scientific wet land reclamation shall be allowed in areas having high environmental efficiency while it shall be conserved in areas of high biocapacity.