Kochi

Locals riled over alleged official apathy

Local residents near Alfa Serene apartment protesting over the perceived apathy of authorities in carrying out evacuation. They alleged they were not told about the procedure and that material to shield their houses were not given.

Local residents near Alfa Serene apartment protesting over the perceived apathy of authorities in carrying out evacuation. They alleged they were not told about the procedure and that material to shield their houses were not given.  

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Officials accused of doing not enough to safely shift them to temporary shelters

Residents in the neighbourhood of Alfa Serene were an agitated lot on Saturday as they accused the authorities of not doing enough to safely evacuate them to temporary shelters ahead of the implosion of the apartment complexes at Maradu.

Unlike the impression created by the Sub Collector and other authorities through the media that all arrangements had been made for the evacuation, nothing was done on the ground, and the residents were in complete dark about the process, they alleged. There was even a minor argument with police personnel who came to evacuate them.

“Except for a notice served by the municipality a few days ago, we were told nothing about the evacuation. We were moving out on our own volition out of fear for our lives,” said Riyas Kadavil, a resident.

Motioning towards people engaged in the last-minute scramble to cover their dwellings from dust and debris, Jasbeer, another resident, said they literally had to fight with the authorities on Friday night to even get sheets to cover their houses.

But not everyone got it as the elderly couple V.N. Subramanyan, a retired High Court employee, and his wife Nirmala vouched. “None of us were told anything about the evacuation nor were we given any material for covering our houses,” said the 77-year-old.

Standing outside her small house, which had developed multiple cracks since the pre-blast demolition, 58-year-old K.D. Sarasakshi was anxious about the safety of her dwelling. “While the apartment owners were given lakhs in compensation, the authorities are maintaining complete silence about repairing our houses. This is a small house, but it is all I have, and there is no way I can rebuild it,” she said.

Disha Pratapan, municipal councillor of Ward 33, said except for door-to-door delivery of notices on precautions to be taken ahead of the demolition, not even a meeting was called by the Sub Collector to discuss evacuation.

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Printable version | Jan 30, 2020 1:02:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/locals-riled-over-alleged-official-apathy/article30546889.ece

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