Maradu apartment occupants refuse to vacate

Kochi: Occupants of the four apartment towers in Maradu, which have been ordered by the Supreme Court to be demolished for violation of Coastal Regulation Zone Rules, have come out in public to declare that they will not leave the premises.  There were tense moments when the official team arrived at the scene to make preparations for the court-ordered demolition.  

Defying the court orders, the owners pleaded that the demolition has been ordered based on violations for which they were not responsible and without their being heard during the case.  They ssaid that if builders and municipal officials have committed irregularities,  the owners and occupants should not be made to suffer for that.

When state government officials,  headed by chief secretary Tom Jose and with the district collector S. Suhas among them arrived at the site,  they were prevented from entering there and had to go back.  Holding placards and shouting slogans against the court order,  they greeted the officials with calls of 'go back' declaring they would not leave the premises.

There was a near skirmish in front of the Holy Faith Apartments, one of the blocks facing demolition.   However,  even as he was withdrawing at the face of protests,  the chief secretary told those present that the Supreme Court order would be carried out.  Tom Jose was mobbed and soon rescued by police. 

The other buildings involved are Alfa Ventures, Nettoor,  Jain Housing, Kundanoor and Kannadikkad Golden Kayaloram.  The original apex court was issues on 8 May and appeals made by the tenants and builders were turned down. 

Both the municipality and the government are determined to demolish the structures, as they have been repeatedly ordered by the highest court and therefore failing to comply they would face penal action.  Unofficials estimates are that the total demolition would cost around Rs 30 crore.

Newly appointed secretary of the municipality Mohammed Afir Khan said that the notice to vacate would be served on Tuesday  and eviction steps would be taken in co-ordination with district authorities. 

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