Evacuation of Kochi flat owners to begin soon: Kerala government

Kerala government would pay Rs 25 lakh interim compensation to each flat owner within four weeks as ordered by the Supreme Court.

Published: 28th September 2019 03:59 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th September 2019 03:59 PM   |  A+A-

Holy Faith H2O apartments in Kochi

Holy Faith H2O apartments in Kochi

By PTI

KOCHI: The Kerala government on Saturday said the evacuation of residents of four illegal apartment complexes here, ordered to be demolished by the Supreme Court, would commence soon.

The government would take steps to demolish the apartment complexes built on the coastal zone of Kochi's Maradu as per the action plan submitted by the government in the Supreme Court, Chief Secretary Tom Jose told reporters here.

He said the state government would pay Rs 25 lakh interim compensation to each flat owner within four weeks as ordered by the Supreme Court.

Jose also said banks have been directed to freeze assets of builders and promoters who were involved in the construction of illegal buildings in the coastal zone areas.

The Chief Secretary's statement comes a day after the Supreme Court directed demolition of apartment complexes within 138 days, a timeline given by the Kerala government, and asked the state to pay Rs 25 lakh interim compensation to each flat owner within four weeks.

The Court had said the government may consider recovering the interim compensation amount, which will be paid to flat owners, from the builders and the promoters.

The top bureaucrat in the affidavit had said, "There are 343 flats in the four multi-storeyed apartment buildings covering an area of 68,028.71 square metre. The municipality has an area of 12.35 sq km and is densely populated with a population of 3,619 per sq kms. Two national highways namely NH-47 and NH-47(A) pass through this area."

According to the action plan prepared by the government, the finalisation of the firm for undertaking demolition and execution of the agreement would be completed by October 9.

During the same period, evacuation notice to owners and occupants of the flats would be issued.

Besides, contingency planning for Kerala Water Authority (KWA), Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited( BSNL), contingency planning and making arrangements by Fire & Rescue Services, bandobast by police and the alternative rehabilitation for the needy occupants would also be carried out before October 9.

The other steps including notice to owners of nearby buildings, within a radius of 1 km, would also be carried out during this period.

The administration said at least four days are required for evacuation of flat dwellers and 90 days for the demolition of all the buildings.

Thirty days are needed for removal of debris and clearing of site to normal condition. The entire set of activities will be completed in 138 days, it said.

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

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 filed 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.

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