Kochi: A division bench of the Kerala High Court on Tuesday stayed Lakshadweep administration's order to demolish houses along the coast in the Islands until further orders. While hearing a plea of building owners who were notified about the demolition, the Court asked the administration to give its affidavit on the issue within two weeks.
Earlier, the islanders were told that the demolition notice was only a draft suggestion when they approached the High Court for the first time. When they received demolition orders again, they approached the Court again.
Lakshadweep administration had ordered the demolition of about 102 buildings, including homes that are located within 20 metres from the coast at various places on the island. The reply for the issued show-cause notice was deadlined on June 30th, and failure of tearing down those buildings would bring the officials themselves to do it, and the owner would be charged for the incurred expenses, according to the administration's order.
The islanders had claimed that at places, buildings within 50m from shorelines also received notice. They say that many of these buildings were built about 50m from the coast, but the distance came below 20m due to the invasion of the sea. But, the authorities had said that only those found illegal under the Integrated Island Management Plan (IIMP) are notified.
Authorities also claim that they are bringing down dilapidated houses and toilets and there is no need for being anxious. In five locations, buildings were planned to remove to build hospitals, the officials claimed.
Meanwhile, a recent order that would fine people for poor waste management had irked the islanders which attracted widespread protests.
Earlier in Cheriyum Island, the administration had ordered to pull down fishermen's establishments along the shoreline within seven days. If fishermen did not do it voluntarily, the order asserted that the Revenue Department would do it, and the former will be charged for the expenses incurred.
The administration had torn down fishermen establishments earlier in a similar fashion. This had incited serious outrage among people, including islanders and outsiders. This was one among many draconian schemes introduced by the new Lakshadweep administration headed by Praful Patel.
Earlier, the Kerala High Court had stayed two of Patel's many controversial reforms. One was his order to shut down dairy farms, and the second was his order to stop serving beef and chicken in school midday meals.
On June 26 (Saturday), despite expert warnings on ecological concerns, the Union Government had approved a major tourism project in Lakshadweep. The government will lend 15 hectares of land for lease for a period of 75 years for a private company to build resorts in Minicoy Island in Lakshadweep