In line with the action plan submitted in the Supreme Court, the Kerala government on Sunday (September 29) began the process of evicting the residents of Maradu flats, ahead of the demolition of the four illegal apartment complexes using controlled implosion technology.
The move comes amidst a section of residents staging a hunger strike, saying they need more time to shift out and also demanded temporary shelters in the vicinity of the apartment complex and restoration of water and power supply. However, the strike was called off after a meeting between the residents and the district authorities.
“We’ve come to know that eviction will be done in four days. How is it possible without serving eviction notice? We’re on hunger strike till our demands of suitable rehabilitation and reasonable time are met,” said Shamsudeen Karunagapally, chairman of Maradu housing protection committee.
Kochi sub-collector Snehil Kumar Singh has been given the additional charge as secretary of the Maradu municipality. He said the process will 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 the residents would be offered help in their rehabilitation.
“We are not trying to evict them forcefully. They are our fellow citizens. We have to treat them with respect,” he said.
According to reports from the southern state, the residents have been granted time to vacate by October 3.
In order to compensate the residents, the apex court, on September 27, directed payment of ₹25 lakh as an interim reparation to each flat owner within four weeks. The top court also appointed a committee under K Balakrishnan, a retired judge of the Kerala high court, to decide on the compensation amount and supervise the payment of the same to the flat owners.
To ensure that accountability is fixed for the lapse, the Supreme Court also directed the concerned banks to freeze the assets of builders and promoters involved in the construction of the illegal buildings in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) areas.
According to Mathrubhumi, bank accounts and properties, of Paul Raj, Director of Alfa Ventures, Sani Francis, MD of Holy Faith Builders and Developers, Sandeep Malik, MD of Jain Housing and Constructions and KV Jose, MD of KP Varkey and Builders, were confiscated.