Just a day after the demolition of the five high-rises in Maradu following the Supreme Court order, residents living close to the demolished H2O Holy Faith and Alfa Serene apartments, gheraoed municipal officials in their office on Monday, not being able to stand the dust pollution in their houses.
H2O Holy Faith and twin towers of Alfa Serene were the first of four apartment complexes to be razed down. Both of them were razed to the ground on Saturday and the remaining two on Sunday.
The protesters, mostly women, gheraoed municipal chairperson TH Nadeera raising complaints that Fire Force officials have not cleaned their houses post demolition, as was promised by the local body before.
The residents were given notice prior to demolition that they can return to their houses after four hours. But with the constant breeze at the site of the demolished waterfront buildings, the dust from the debris was constantly entering their houses, the residents alleged.
"We cannot breathe properly due to the thick concrete dust. Experts had already warned that it would cause respiratory and skin diseases. Why should we suffer all this?" said one of the protesters.
It has been two days since both Alfa Serene and H2O Holy Faith were razed down. “Though the houses are not damaged, we cannot enter into our homes because of the thick dust that has engulfed the area,” said the protesters.
Hours after the demolition, a section of residents near Alfa Serene towers had told TNM that the water tanks on top of the houses were broken after concrete pieces came flying following the implosion and broke them.
The trees in the region are also covered with dust from the demolition.
The chairperson was gheraoed by the residents for about an hour on Monday morning. It was after the officials promised to take swift action that the protesters finally left the municipal office.
Talking to the media, chairperson TH Nadeera said that it was the duty of the companies which demolished the buildings, to see that the houses remained free of dust pollution.
“Since they did not do it, the municipality will take charge and clean the houses,” Nadeera said. She also added that a notice was issued for the Fire and Rescue department to immediately clean the houses.
Since dust pollution will be there in the coming days during removal of the debris, the local body has planned to continue spraying water in the region.
Golden Kayaloram and Jain Coral Cove are the other two apartments that were demolished on Sunday. Both of these are located in less dense areas compared to Alfa Serene and H2O Holy Faith.
Meanwhile, Aravind Kumar, expert from Mahatma Gandhi University (MGU), who monitored the air quality levels, said that there was not much of air pollution caused by the demolition.
“Dust level had increased more than 4 or 5% during demolition, but that settled down within six hours,” said Aravind Kumar, who is also the pro vice chancellor of MGU.