The officials of Maradu municipality will also seek legal advice to demolish the four apartment buildings without causing harm to the environment and residents.

Kerala local body estimates cost of demolishing illegal Kochi apartmentsMidhun J
news Housing Sunday, July 07, 2019 - 17:44

With the Supreme Court upholding its order on the demolition of four apartment buildings in Kochi that are violating the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms, the Maradu municipality has started to estimate the cost to demolish the structures.

The municipality officials on Friday gave charge to engineers of the local body to prepare an estimate on how much it would cost to bring down the four apartment buildings. Though detailed estimation has only started, a rough analysis reveals that crores will be required to demolish the structures, officials say.

In its May 2019 verdict, the Supreme Court observed that five apartment buildings in Kochi received the permission for construction violating the CRZ norms. It ordered the buildings to be demolished by June 8. Apart from one building, which is yet to be constructed, four of the apartments are inhabited.

In June, about 400 residents of one of the apartment buildings were able to get an interim relief in the case for one month from the SC vacation bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and Ajay Rastogi. However, Justice Arun Mishra, who gave the May 8 verdict, came down heavily on the petitioners and counsels saying that they have played fraud on SC.

This came as a major blow to the apartment owners of Holy Faith, Kayaloram, Alfa Ventures and Jain Housing, who have been left in the lurch now.

The state government had earlier made it clear that local body concerned should initiate the demolition procedures.

Following this, municipality officials started preparing the demolition estimate. But the officials are still apprehensive about the steps to be initiated by the local body. “Since this involves legal proceedings, we have asked advice from legal experts on our next course of action,” Maradu municipality secretary Subash PK told TNM.

The local body is also apprehensive about meeting the expense of the demolition.  Though the local body had earlier planned to make the apartment builders bear the cost of demolition, the officials are not sure about its legalities.

“It will surely cost crores to demolish these structures while ensuring minimal or no environmental harm. Apart from the legalities, we also have to consider the final cost estimate,” said Subash.

Though a five-member team from IIT-Madras had come to Maradu on Wednesday to assess the environmental impacts of the demolition, the Municipality is yet to receive a report on this. The team assessed the buildings, factoring in the surroundings of the place. Since the buildings are located close to the backwaters, and even some situated near small residential houses, it is going to be a Herculean task to bring down the structures safely, without causing damage to residents and the environment. 

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