Even as the residents of apartment complexes in Ernakulamâs Maradu are protesting against the SC order to demolish their buildings for violating the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms, reports have surfaced about the children in these apartments being the most affected due to the ongoing crisis.
The reports came following a visit by a team from the Ernakulam district council for child welfare, to meet the children living in these apartment complexes and to enquire about their welfare against the backdrop of the protests. Following their visit, the council members, as per a report by the Times of India (ToI), stated that there are around 300 children below the age of 18 living in these apartments, which have been ordered to be demolished by the SC.
A team led by the vice president of the welfare council AS Arun Kumar, visited the flats and is reported to have spent around two hours interacting with the children and the residents.
As per the ToI report, Arun Kumar was quoted as saying, âThe children told us that they did not celebrate Onam as they were sitting in fast in front of the Maradu municipality office that day.
The other major issue that the children of these apartments are said to have voiced is the issue of being labelled as âencroachersâ by their friends and classmates in school. Some of the school and college students are said to have told the child welfare council that what initially began as a series of jokes by referring to them as âencroachersâ, soon started to become a way of abusing them.
According to a report by Deccan Chronicle, Saniya P, a 14-year-old student at a private school in Ernakulam was quoted as saying, âI see desperate faces all around me every time. Exams are coming and I am not able to concentrate on my studies.â She also expressed doubts about whether she would continue to be in the same school owing to the uncertainty surrounding the housing issue.