In the National Assembly | 01 August 2019
Debate on Physical Planning Bill continues
Debate which started on the Physical Planning Bill on Tuesday afternoon continued for the whole day yesterday before adjourning late in the evening without any vote taken.
It is only in its sessions next week that Minister Pamela Charlette who is responsible for Planning Authority will give her reply and members will discuss and review the Bill during the committee stage where they will also consider other amendments proposed during the debate.
During yesterday’s sessions members who intervened stressed on the weaknesses, and shortcomings of the Planning Authority and the urgent need for better planning of infrastructural developments around the country and they highlighted several cases which they termed as unjust and unfair as some citizens easily get planning permission to carry out their development while others with similar projects are refused permission and find themselves struggling to get redress. These cases are happening in all the districts around the country including on Praslin and La Digue, they said.
Members highlighted different examples of difficulties that people in the communities are facing as a result of planning laws being flouted and those include the La Misère development project which resulted in severe water pollution, blocked right of way, illegal construction, encroachment on properties, development without public consultations, and the container project on Cosmoledo where planning officials never visited the construction site.
Members from both sides argued that while the new Bill has some new provisions, the problems are not with the planning laws but with their application and enforcement and they called for the authority to do away with double standards when it comes to applying planning regulations.
They called for a complete review of the procedures and processes to approve planning permissions.
The members argued that the new Bill is proposing more order to better manage land sustainability and planning development in the country.
Members on both sides of the House were satisfied with the content of the Bill but there were too many conflicting issues relating to its application. They agreed that the minister should carefully consider all the different propositions and amendments to the Bill made during the debate to ensure the country gets a modern piece of legislation that is clear on different issues, is not ambiguous, applies for everyone and can address different challenges people are currently facing in a clearly defined and prompt manner.