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Maradu flat owners eviction may take time as issues surface

Maradu flat owners eviction may take time as issues surface

Kochi: The residents of the Maradu flats complex, set for demolition, had promised to move out latest by October 3 but now it might be delayed for a while as they claim that the alternate places to which they were to be moved are not available.

Speaking to the media here on Monday, the flat residents complained that they were given a few contact numbers where the district authorities had arranged for their accommodation, but none exists.

"We were shocked to be told when we contacted the numbers given to us, that there are no such flats to be given. Some of them even threatened us not to call again. If this is the response, then the October 3 deadline will have to be extended," said angry residents.

The 240 families who occupy 356 flats in the four buildings in the Maradu complex, had promised the district authorities on Sunday that they will be moving out latest by Thursday.

The apex court had on September 6 ordered demolition of the complex by September 20 for violating the Coastal Regulation Zone rules.

On Sunday morning, the flat residents had begun an indefinite protest, but called it off at around 3 p.m. after talks with top district authorities led to an amicable solution, which included moving them to alternate accommodations.

Yet another issue that has now surfaced is that when the Maradu flats complex is demolished, would the neighbourhood suffer any damage. If so, they should be given adequate compensation and it should come in the form of an order from the authorities.

Following this demand, Kochi Sub-Collector S. K. Singh, appointed as special officer in charge of the demolition, will be discussing the matter with the concerned people in the second week of October. He will first finalise the tender for the demolition to one of the more than two dozen companies who have come forward to do the job.

The Supreme Court has directed the Kerala government to disburse Rs 25 lakh as interim compensation to each flat owner within four weeks and recover it from the builders.

The top court also appointed Kerala High Court's retired judge K. Balakrishnan Nair to head a three-member committee which will include a technical and civil expert to decide on any increase in the compensation amount, and to oversee the demolition.

According to the affidavit submitted by the Kerala government in the top court, the demolition will be completed in 90 days and the debris will be cleared in another 30 days.

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