KOCHI: A week after the Supreme Court ordered demolition of five apartment complexes in Maradu Municipality for violation of Coastal Regulation Zone rules, confusion prevails regarding the fate of the occupants of these flats.
The builders, on their part, said they will file a review petition before the Supreme Court highlighting the approvals issued by the regulating authorities before launching the projects. They claimed the sub-committee appointed by the apex court did not give them a fair chance to explain their position.
Meanwhile, the occupants who have availed of bank loans to purchase the flats are a worried lot as they fear the implementation of the order will ruin them financially.
The office-bearers of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI) refused to comment on the issue. “There is no need to panic. There are solutions and we will explore all options to protect the interests of the occupants of these flats. The CRZ mechanism was not in place when the Maradu panchayat accorded approval for the project in 2006. After nine months they served a show cause notice alleging violation of CRZ rules. This was stayed by the Kerala High Court. The court had made Coastal Zone Management Authority (CZMA) a party in the case in 2007. The authority did not object to the panchayat’s action of according approval or inform the court that the building permit was illegal. It is the apathy of the CZMA and the municipality that led to the verdict,” said an office-bearer of the CREDAI on condition of anonymity.
According to him, thousands of houses have been built in the coastal zone after 1991 based on the building approval provided by the civic authorities. There was no Coastal Zone Map available in Maradu, when the panchayat accorded building permit for these projects. Though Maradu was a panchayat in 2006, it was an urbanised area and should have been notified under CRZ II. Under the new notification it comes under CRZ II, the official said.
Paul Raj, director of Alfa Venture, one of the buildings hit by the Supreme Court verdict, said
he will file a review petition before the Supreme Court. “We are confident of convincing the court by presenting the inconsistency in the stance taken by the CZMA. None of the regulatory agencies including the CZMA had raised any objections in this regard when the matter came before the High Court in 2007,” he said.
Though the SC order has caused heartburns, it will serve as a deterrent and will help to avoid destruction of ecologically sensitive ecosystems in future, said scientist and former Vice-Chancellor of Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS) B Madhusoodana Kurup.