Power, Water Supply to Maradu Flats to be Cut off Soon as Kerala Govt Prepares to Demolish Apartments

File photo of Maradu Kochi flats.

File photo of Maradu Kochi flats.

The state government had on Tuesday directed officials to disconnect power and water supply to the apartments.

Kochi: Police on Wednesday registered FIRs against three builders, who constructed apartments at Maradu in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone rules and which the Supreme Court had recently ordered to be demolished, following complaints by flat owners that they were cheated by them.

The Kerala government on Wednesday initiated steps to demolish four apartment complexes at nearby Maradu, built in violation of CRZ norms, days after being pulled up the Supreme Court for not complying with its order to raze the buildings.

Fort Kochi Sub-Collector Snehil Kumar Singh, who was given additional charge as Maradu Municipality secretary to carry out the demolition, said the directions given by the government on Tuesday, including disconnection of power and water supply to the apartments, would be implemented soon.

"We will have to follow it up," Singh told reporters here in response to a query on whether the government's direction in this regard would be implemented. The government had at a review meeting on Tuesday decided to write to the Kerala State Electricity Board and Kerala Water Authority to disconnect power and water supply to the apartments with immediate effect.

Meanwhile, the residents said they would not leave their flats even if they are denied water and electricity.

"Officials are taking steps to throw us out on the streets. We are not the culprits. We will not leave our homes. We will stay here," a representative of the flat owners said.

He said some flat owners are abroad and the struggle against the demolition move would be strengthened once they come back.

The government took the steps to implement the Apex Court order after it expressed shock over a spate of unauthorised structures coming up at Kochi's Maradu, saying illegal construction in coastal areas of Kerala is a "colossal loss" to the environment.

The court asked the Chief Secretary to conduct a survey to gauge the extent of devastation caused to nature and said it would pass a detailed order on September 27 on the issue. The Supreme Court had earlier asked the state government to file a compliance report by September 20, failing which the Chief Secretary will have to be present before it on Sept 23.

The government, in its affidavit, had given details of number of flats and the demography of the area, saying there are 343 flats in the four multi-storeyed apartment buildings covering 68,028.71 square meters.

The Maradu municipality is spread over 12.35 sq km and is densely populated with a population of 3,619 sq kms. Two National Highways NH-47 and NH-47(A) pass through this area.

The top court in July dismissed a plea by the realtors, seeking a review of its May 8 order, which directed removal of the buildings in a month as they were built in a notified CRZ, part of the tidally-influenced water body in Kerala.

It had passed the order after taking note of a report of a three-member committee, which said the area was already notified as a CRZ when the buildings were built and construction was prohibited.

Earlier, the court had rejected a plea by the residents of the area against the demolition order and taken strong exception to an order passed by a vacation bench during the summer break of the apex court, which had stayed the demolition of the buildings for six weeks.

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