Maradu demolition: A month on, municipality yet to repair houses that suffered damage

The residents allege that damage to their houses incurred two months back, during the pre-demolition works, even have not been fixed.
Maradu demolition: A month on, municipality yet to repair houses that suffered damage
Maradu demolition: A month on, municipality yet to repair houses that suffered damage
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Despite it being a month after the four apartment complexes in Kochi’s Maradu were razed down following a Supreme Court order, the houses around the demolished buildings which suffered damages during the demolition, are yet to be repaired as promised. Many families who now reside in rented houses, cannot go back to their houses as damages have not yet been rectified.

It is mostly the houses near the demolished twin towers of Alfa Serene apartment, which have suffered damage. The residents also allege that damages which happened even two months back, during the pre-demolition works, have also not been fixed.

It was on January 11 and 12 that four apartment complexes in Maradu municipality were razed down for being constructed violating the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms.

The demolished buildings of Alfa Serene were located in a thickly populated residential area. While the twin towers were being razed down and even during the pre-demolition works, nearby houses suffered damages like broken window panes, cracked walls and ceilings as well as damage to roofing sheets.

“It is almost going to be three months since my house’s ceiling was cracked during the pre-demolition work of the razed apartment. But till date, it has not been rectified, though we were promised that it will be fixed free of cost,” says Sugunanandhan, who resides near the demolished Alfa Serene flat. 

Though a crack had appeared in the terrace, the family understood the gravity of the damage, when they watered the terrace. “We recently made water stagnate on the terrace, it was then we saw that water was actually trickling down through cracks inside the house,” says Sugunanandhan, who now resides in a rented house. He also said that he informed municipal officials about the leak in his ceiling and that one day earlier, they visited the place. 

About 20 families around the demolished Alfa Serene, had moved out to rented houses before the demolition, as part of the safety measures taken during the time of demolition. 

“But we cannot return when houses are lying in this condition. Window panes and roofing sheets of my house were damaged with pellets flying off from the demolished building while it was razed down,” says Anoop, another resident. 

The residents also raised complaints that they are now spending money from their own pocket to get their houses back to normal. “All of our houses were covered in dust after the demolition. Though we tried to wash it off, our houses don't look like before. I have started painting my house and I'm spending from my own pocket because the officials have not yet repaired the damages, so how can we even think that they will paint the houses for us,” says Anoop. 

When TNM contacted Maradu municipality, officials said that Tamil Nadu based Vijay Steels and Explosives, which demolished Alfa Serene towers and who are now in charge of removing debris, are responsible for fixing damages in houses. “The charge goes to the company, they have said that any damage that costs less than Rs 2 lakh in total will be repaired by them and we think all the damages come below that amount,” an official told TNM. 

Meanwhile, the residents are alleging that officials of Vijay Steels informed them that the municipality has not yet given them the list of houses to be repaired. 

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