Maradu flats: VS Achuthanandan criticises govt, Pinarayi responds

Maradu flats: VS Achuthanandan criticises govt, Pinarayi responds
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Thiruvananthapuram: State Administrative Reforms Commission chief V S Achuthananthan on Monday criticised the government's move to relocate the families living in the four apartment complexes in Maradu, which were built in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms.

The former chief minister said that the government should be careful while giving compensation and relocating the flat owners.

As there are several other illegal constructions in the state, compensation and relocation might put up a wrong precedent, he said.

However, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan responded that he was only implementing the apex court's verdict and that it was the government's duty to do so.

Pointing out that it had no other option, but to implement the supreme court's directions, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the government was also constitutionally bound to implement the verdict.

Earlier in the day, the state government said it is taking all steps to implement the Supreme Court verdict on demolition of the four apartment complexes in Kochi.

The top court on Monday refused to entertain a plea of flat owners seeking stay on its order on demolition of the complexes in Kochi's Maradu.

A statement from the Chief Minister's Office said the state was taking all steps as directed by the apex court on the rehabilitation and compensation of those who would be evicted from their flats.

The authorities on Sunday began the process for evicting residents of the four apartment complexes with officials visiting the owners to help them relocate even as a section staged a protest pressing demands, including seeking more time.

The 'evacuation' process will be completed before October 3, said Fort Kochi Sub-Collector Snehil Kumar Singh, given the additional charge as secretary of the Maradu municipality - where the 343 waterfront flats built in violation of CRZ norms - are located.

He said the process will be completed in a "peaceful manner" and the civic body officials would explain to the residents that the apex court order has to be implemented and offer help in their rehabilitation.

The Supreme Court on Friday had directed demolition of the apartment complexes within 138 days, a time-line given by the Kerala government, and asked the state to pay Rs 25 lakh interim compensation to each flat owner within four weeks.

It had said the government may consider recovering the interim compensation amount, which will be paid to flat owners, from the builders and the promoters.

The court had ordered setting up of one-member committee of retired high court judge to oversee the demolition and to assess total compensation payable to affected flat owners.

Besides, it directed freezing of assets of builders and promoters who were involved in the construction of illegal buildings in the coastal zone areas of Kochi.

The government is planning to hand over the buildings to the successful bidder for the demolition on October 11.

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