Maradu flats demolition: Eviction process begins, authorities to help in rehabilitation

PTI Kochi | Updated on September 29, 2019 Published on September 29, 2019

343 waterfront flats, that were built in the Maradu municpality, were said to have violated the CRZ norms. File photo   -  The Hindu

Evacuation process to be completed before October 3

The Kerala government on Sunday began the process for evicting residents of four illegal apartment complexes here, ordered to be demolished by the Supreme Court.

Officials visited the owners to help them relocate.

This comes even as a section ended their protest and expressed their willingness to vacate their homes before October 3.

The evacuation process will be completed before October 3, said Fort Kochi Sub-Collector Snehil Kumar Singh, who was given the additional charge as secretary of the Maradu municipality.

343 waterfront flats, that were built in the Maradu municpality, were said to have violated the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms.

He said the process would be completed in a peaceful manner and the civic body officials would explain to the residents that the Supreme Court order has to be implemented and offer help in their rehabilitation.

Read: District administration offers rehabilitation for residents of Maradu flats

Meanwhile, a section of the residents, who were on a “hunger strike” in front of one of the apartment complexes, ended their protest after the Ernakulam district administration agreed to some of their demands. These included the restoration of electricity disconnected by the authorities last week as part of the eviction process.

After their meeting with the District Collector S Suhas, the representatives of the residents said the authorities had assured them of all possible help within their limitations in the process of vacating their flats and finding new homes.

The residents had also raised demands, including more time to vacate and that the government bear the rent for the alternative accommodation.

‘Not trying to evacuate them forcefully’

The Supreme Court on Friday had directed demolition of the apartment complexes within 138 days, a time-line given by the Kerala government, and asked the state to pay Rs 25 lakh interim compensation to each flat owner within four weeks.

“This discussion is only for telling them (that) time is over. You have to start vacating. They have to follow the Supreme Court order. We have to follow the Supreme Court order. There is no question about it,” Singh told reporters here in the morning.

He said the officials visiting the apartment complexes will find out the requirements of the residents.

“We are not trying to evacuate them forcefully. They are our fellow citizens. We have to treat them with respect,” the official said, responding to queries on the eviction process.

He made it clear that October 3 was the final date for vacating the flats, whose water and electricity connections have been disconnected last week as part of the pre-demolition process.

Read: Power, water supply lines to Maradu flats snapped

The striking residents had said that they should be given more time to vacate their homes.

They had also demanded that the rent for the flats where they will be rehabilitated should be paid by the government.

Handing over buildings to successful bidder on October 11

State Chief Secretary Tom Jose has said on Friday that the state government would take steps to demolish the apartment complexes as per the action plan submitted in the top court.

Officials said the four apartment complexes would be demolished using controlled implosion method.

The administration has said 90 days would be required for demolition of all the buildings and 30 days for removal of debris and clearing of the site. The entire process would be completed in 138 days, it has said.

The state government is planning to hand over the buildings to the successful bidder for the demolition on October 11.

Also read: Demolition of apartments in Kochi: Kerala government to launch criminal procedures against builders

On May 8, the apex court had directed that these buildings be removed within a month as they were constructed in a notified CRZ, which was part of the tidally-influenced water body in Kerala.

The court had passed the order after taking note of a report of a three-member committee, which said when the buildings were built, the area was already notified as a CRZ and construction was prohibited.

Earlier, the court had rejected a plea by the residents of the area against the demolition order and taken a strong exception to an order passed by a vacation bench during the summer break of the apex court, which had stayed the demolition of these buildings for six weeks.

Also read: Supreme Court orders to attach properties and bank accounts of Maradu apartment builders

Published on September 29, 2019
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