KOCHI: Mystery surrounds the claims made by Maradu flat residents regarding the thefts as even the police are yet to receive a formal complaint. On Wednesday, the residents of the flats slated to be demolished had alleged that their materials were stolen by the workers. The residents, who came to shift their belongings, blamed the contracting firm which was entrusted with the demolition and the police. However, the Maradu police on Thursday clarified that they have not received any complaints of theft so far.
“We suspect the claim by the residents is intended to extend the demolition. If they complain about theft, why have they not reported it to the police?” said an officer.Earlier, the Maradu police officials clarified that they have guarded the apartments as per the SC order and they didn’t have the right to interfere in the demolition.
“The official date to vacate the apartment was October 3. But the municipality officials have allowed residents to shift their belongings till the second week of October. All those who complain could have utilised that time period. Moreover, the police officials are only guarding the flat premises from the intrusion of strangers as per the court order. We have never interfered in the demolition process,” said another officer. The residents had turned up as per the order issued by the Justice Balakrishnan Nair committee for vacating their remaining materials.
The committee has received a total of 26 petitions from flat owners of all four Maradu highrises. The flat owners clarified that many of them were abroad and the delay occurred due to various other reasons.
“The workers broke into our flats and took away our materials. The officials shamelessly justify the action by saying that they have the right as per tender. The contractor is not allowing us to take any of our materials, including the teak front door we bought for more than `20,000. They are even planning to take away our lifts. They are not part of the salvages which can be taken by the contractors. We are doubting a conspiracy here. It’s sheer injustice meted out by the government,” said Antony C Ettukettil, a resident of Holy Faith H2O apartment.
“As the entire area belongs to us, the police officials should not have allowed strangers to manage our belongings. The officials did not even prepare an inventory before awarding the tender. Supreme Court has only ordered to demolish the highrises and it hasn’t given any right to the state government to take away our belongings,” said Ettukettil.
“We missed the earlier deadlines due to our hectic schedules and other engagements,” he added.
Meanwhile, the residents of acomplain that the officials have gone back from their earlier promises.
“Our residents’ association has formally requested to shift our belongings in flats and common areas. The committee has earlier clarified that 60 apartments will be completely locked. But now, all we can see is the dilapidated condition of our flats,” said Beyoj Chennat, another resident.
Municipality denies charges
Meanwhile, the Maradu municipality denied the allegations of theft in the flats slated to be demolished by mid December. “The residents were given ample time to shift their belongings. Based on the direction of Justice Balakrishnan Nair Committee, they were also allowed to take their belongings on Wednesday. We have arranged all the facilities for the 26 flat owners to remove their things. Ever since the flats were closed, they were under the custody of the police and no one was allowed to enter the flat premises. Allegations of theft made by the residents are fake,” said an officer with Maradu municipality. . “If there was theft, they should have reported it to the police. So far, we haven’t received any complaints. We have shown humanitarian consideration owners,” said the officer.