Following a Supreme Court order on September 6, 2019, to demolish the Maradu apartment complex in Kochi in Ernakulam district for violating coastal norms, a technical committee handed over the demolition task to two firms--Edifice Engineering and Vijay Steels. Demolition work started on October 14, and the state government plans to complete it by January 20, 2020. The apex court issued the demolition order after a three-member committee, which was appointed by it earlier, noted that the area was already notified as a Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) and construction was prohibited when the apartment was being built. The court ruled that the entire apartment complex was built illegally, violating the CRZ norms. The Maradu complex has 356 flats in five buildings, with at least 350 families as occupants. The residents have been left in a lurch as the Supreme Court had rejected a plea filed by them against the demolition order. The flat owners had earlier refused to vacate as the demolition would render them homeless. They staged sit-in protests and hunger strikes. Various political parties, including the Congress, the Muslim League and the Communist Party of India Marxist, have come out in support of the residents, taking a united stand against the decision of the apex court. But now as the demolition has begun, the families have vacated. The court has directed the state to pay each family an interim compensation of INR 25 lakhs. It has also directed the freezing of assets of the builders, namely Alfa Serene, Holy Faith Builders and Developers Private Limited and Jain Coral Cove, who have washed their hands off the matter. In a letter to the Maradu municipal authorities, the builders wrote that they had paid all their taxes and were no longer responsible for any situation unfolding at the complex. The apartment complex comes under CRZ III as per CRZ Notification, 1991, and the Kerala Coastal Zone Management Plan, 1996. As per the notification, in a CRZ III zone, construction of any kind is prohibited within 200 metres of the coastal border. The apex court has noted that the building can cause destruction in the area in the event of a natural disaster.
Government Bodies Involved in the Conflict:
Supreme Court of India, Government of Kerala
Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress, Communist Party of India - Marxist, Muslim League
Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:
Edifice Engineering, Vijay Steels
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