‘Demolish Maradu flats’: SC orders Rs 25 lakh compensation for owners
The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a last-minute effort by the Kerala government to put on hold the demolition of four apartment complexes in Kochi that violate coastal regulation zone norms and ordered the state government to give each flat owner Rs 25 lakh as interim compensation.
But the buildings will have to be razed, a bench of the Supreme Court ruled, asserting that the court could not let the illegality to continue. The Kerala government had suggested that it could evacuate the occupants but asked that the court let the buildings stand.
The judges told the Kerala government that the could get the apartment complex demolished if the state government could not do the job.
At the end of the hearing on Friday, the Supreme Court okayed a 138-day time frame proposed by the state government to demolish and clear the debris.
The state government has been given four weeks to pay the Rs 25 lakh interim compensation to people who bought flats in the complex built in violation of the rules. A committee headed by a retired high court judge would be set up, the top court said, to look into valuation of the Maradu flats and fix responsibility for allowing construction in the CRZ zone.
Eventually, the compensation paid by the state government would be recovered from the builder. In this context, the court said the assets of the company that built the complex may also be attached.
The Supreme Court had ordered demolition of 357 waterfront flats in May this year, saying they violated coastal regulation zone norms. When the state government went slow, the court pulled up the state this month to goad it into action.
This week, the Maradu municipality, where these flat complexes are situated, has decided to cut power and water supply to the flats to wear out occupants who refuse to shift. The civic body has asked the State Electricity Board and State Water Authority to sever connections. Besides this, the state government has appointed a young IAS officer Snehil Kumar to oversee the eviction and demolition process.