KOCHI: Usually, Thiruvonam is the busiest day for Maya Premachandran, as she cooks multiple curries for a complete Onasadya. However, being a resident of H2O apartment block which faces the axe for CRZ violations, instead of cooking dishes, 60-year-old Maya and her family observed a hunger strike in front of Maradu municipality office on Onam day on Wednesday.
“We will not vacate our house even if they demolish it using a bomb. We will die inside our house. They do not know anything about the hardship we underwent to see a house of our own. Where will we go if they demolish the apartment? Will the government pay off our loans? Will they provide another house in place of the apartment?” she asked with tears her eyes.
Around 400 families residing at four apartments, which were ordered to be demolished by the Supreme Court, observed a hunger strike in front for the municipality office on Thiruvonam day. Residents expressed their displeasure at the government not backing them in the case. Several film actors and directors, who own flats in the to-be demolished apartment complexes, also took part in the strike.
Serina Musthafa, who bought one of the apartments in 2011, asked whether she did anything illegal to face such a cruel consequence. “Till the Supreme Court verdict last year, we did not know that our apartment is constructed violating any norms. While buying the apartment, we approached for the bank for a loan. The bank scrutinised the documents and did not raise any objection. We registered the apartment with the Revenue Department, which has not raised any objection. We paid the tax with Maradu municipality and they never raised any issues. Then what did we do wrong?” She asked.
Joyson E Pallan, secretary of H2O Apartment Residents’ Association, said no authorities have heard the residents. “I have been living here since 2010 and I am paying all taxes. Till now, no one told us that the building has violated CRZ norms. The SC has asked the authorities to demolish the apartments. Nothing was mentioned about the residents who would become homeless after the demolition,” Joyson said.
“As Lakeshore Hospital is nearby, several elderly persons, after their retirement, bought the apartments. There are even former military personnel who are spending their life after retirement after serving the nation for several years. Some children go to schools nearby. Where will they go after their houses are demolished?” asked Latha, another resident.