SC declines Maradu flat owners' plea seeking stay on demolition

Rahul Gandhi. (File Photo: IANS)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to entertain a plea of flat owners seeking a stay on demolition of four apartment complexes in Kochi's Maradu which were built in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone norms.

A bench of justices Arun Mishra and S Ravindra Bhat dismissed the plea of flat owners, who have also challenged the legality of a panel which had recommended demolition of the four apartment complexes.

The apex court had on Friday directed demolition of flats within 138 days, a timeline given by the Kerala government, and had asked the state to pay Rs 25 lakh interim compensation to each flat owner within four weeks.

The owners of four apartment complexes in Maradu, facing demolition had said that they are ready to vacate the flats on Sunday .

Representatives of the flat owners announced the decision to media after discussions with district collector and other officials.

The flat owners said they were cooperating with the state government as they understand that the latter has some limitations not to implement the apex court order. The flat owners placed several demands before the officials who responded to them positively.

Their demands included restoration of electricity supply at the flats, payment of rent by state government for new flats, advance amount of Rs1 lakh to pay the rent and security amount for the new flats, compensation worth current market value of flats, and return of undivided property after demolition.

The evacuation process will be completed before October 3, said Fort Kochi Sub-Collector Snehil Kumar Singh, given the additional charge as secretary of the Maradu municipality -- where the 343 waterfront flats built in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone norms -- are located.

Officials said the four apartment complexes would be demolished using controlled implosion method.

The administration has said 90 days would be required for demolition of all the buildings and 30 days for removal of debris and clearing of the site. The entire process would be completed in 138 days, it has said.

The government is planning to hand over the buildings to the successful bidder for the demolition on October 11.

On May 8, the apex court had directed that these buildings be removed within a month as they were constructed in a notified CRZ, which was part of the tidally-influenced water body in Kerala.

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

(With inputs from PTI.)

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