Owners of Maradu flats facing demolition agree to vacate

Owners of Maradu flats facing demolition agree to vacate
Representatives of Maradu flat owners speak to media after the meeting with officials. Photo: Onmanorama
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Kochi: Owners of four apartment complexes in Maradu, facing demolition for violating Coastal Regulation Zone norms following a Supreme Court order, on Sunday agreed to vacate the flats.

Representatives of the flat owners announced the decision to media after discussions with district collector and other officials at the Government Guest House here.

The flat owners said they were cooperating with the state government as they understand that the latter has some limitations to refrain from implementing the apex court order. The flat owners placed several demands before the officials, who responded to them positively.

Owners of Maradu flats facing demolition agree to vacate
Collector S Suhas and sub collector Snehil Kumar leave Ernakulam guest house after the meeting with Maradu fly owners.

"Our first demand was to restore electricity supply. The authorities have already started restoring it," Shamsudheen Karunagappally, chairman, Maradu Bhavana Samrakshana Samiti, said.

Another demand was that the government pay the rent once the flat owners move to new homes. The government is yet to take a call on this.

"We have requested to the government to release at least Rs 1 lakh each to the evicted families in advance to pay the rent and security amount for the new flats. The district administration has promised to write to the government in this regard," Shamsudheen said.

Owners of Maradu flats facing demolition agree to vacate
The belongings of a family packed into cardboard boxes for shifting.

This is apart from the interim compensation of Rs 25 lakh to be paid by the state government as per the latest apex court order.

About the compensation package, they said the officials have promised that the three-member panel appointed by the Supreme Court will assess the damages before demolishing the buildings.

"The officials said the interim compensation will be credited to our accounts within two weeks," Shamsusheen said.

The flat owners have demanded that they be paid the current market value of the flats and not the price during the time of registration.

Owners of Maradu flats facing demolition agree to vacate
A truck hired by one of the residents to shift home.

The flat owners said the government has agreed to provide them with vehicles and bear the expense of shifting.

The flat owners have demanded that the property where the buildings situate should be returned to them after clearing the debris within three months of demolition. The undivided property has been registered under the names of the flat owners.

Hoping against hope

The flat owners are still hopeful of exploring all available legal options to avoid the demolition. "Some petitions are still pending before the apex court and we will try to find if there's any other option to file more pleas," he said.

Hunger strike called off

The protesters also called off the hunger strike staged by Jayakumar, a resident of Holy Faith H2O flats, on the premises of the building. The indefinite strike was called off after the talks with the officials. Around 50 residents were at the strike venue on Sunday morning.

Owners of Maradu flats facing demolition agree to vacate
Flat owners stage a hunger strike on the premises of Holy Faith H2O flat complex at Kundannoor.

District collector S Suhas, sub-collector Snehinlal and Thripunithura MLA M Swaraj attended the meeting with the flat owners.   

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