Report on progress of demolition to be submitted to Supreme Court today
The demolition of the controversial Rainbow restaurant on the banks of the Periyar at Aluva got under way on Tuesday, as the district administration swung into action in the wake of a State government direction to raze the structure at the earliest.
Officials said the buildings division of the Public Works Department (PWD), under the District Collector, had begun to pull down the structure, constructed by the District Tourism Promotion Council. About 30 per cent of the demolition work has been completed by evening, but it will take another three to four days before pulling down the structural beams and arches,” District Collector M.G. Rajamanickam said.Report for SC
“A report on the progress of demolition will be submitted before the Supreme Court on Wednesday morning, so as to plead the court not to initiate contempt of court proceedings,” he said.
PWD sources, however, sought to counter his claim, and said at least 15 days would be required to finish the work. “The beams and arches have to be cut down using modern machines, which is going to be a long-drawn process,” a top official with the department said. The inordinate delay in proceeding against the hotel despite its order had drawn sharp reaction from the Supreme court, which ordered the Principal Secretary (Tourism), the Ernakulam District Collector, the chairman of the Tourism Development Corporation, the secretary of the Ernakulam District Tourism Promotion Council, and the secretary of the Aluva municipality to be present before it on April 28 for facing contempt of court proceedings.
It was in June last year that the apex court had ordered the demolition of the illegally constructed building on the riverbank. Later, the court also rejected a revision petition filed by the State, and last month, it directed the authorities, who sought additional time for implementing the demolition order, to ensure that the structure was demolished immediately. Meanwhile, officials appeared undecided about removing the debris of the building from the location.
“We are planning to invite tenders for collecting and removing the debris, and are waiting for the State government’s nod,” the Collector said. S. Sitaraman, former secretary of the Association for Environment Protection, Aluva, who is a petitioner in the case, said the landmark judgment to demolish the building would pave the way for the authorities to take action against similar violations.
“We are now planning to take up the CRZ (Coastal Regulation Zone) violations in the Greater Kochi area with the district administration,” he said.