Kochi

Ritual at Maradu apartment triggers panic

With a prayer: Demolition workers offering puja at Alfa Serene apartment complex at Maradu as part of the preparatory work for demolition, on Thursday.

With a prayer: Demolition workers offering puja at Alfa Serene apartment complex at Maradu as part of the preparatory work for demolition, on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: H_Vibhu

Arrival of workers in protective gear makes locals fear that demolition is about to begin even without safety measures

Placing a big hammer, screwdriver, and a long iron crossbar piously on a large wooden piece inside an apartment at Alfa Serene, an illegal structure set to be demolished, a group of demolition workers performed puja in the early hours of Thursday.

The workers had also done some ritualistic paintings on the wall, which served as the backdrop for the ritual.

After breaking coconut, lighting the lamp, and offering prayers, the workers returned, much to the relief of the public and the councillors. A similar ritual was also performed at Jain Coral Cove, the second illegal structure being readied for demolition.

The arrival of the workers, all wearing protective helmets, pressed panic button among local residents who feared that the demolition was about to begin even before ensuring safety measures. The councillors of Maradu municipality were also caught off guard by the news of the workers’ arrival on a day it was to consider the request for demolition of the apartments. The arrival of the workforce at the sites also caused ripples at the council meeting as several councillors, who thought that the demolition process had begun, questioned the sanctity of the meeting when the apartments were handed over to the demolition team.

Municipal Secretary M. Mohamed Ariff Khan informed the council that the workers were allowed to access the buildings for inspecting them before drawing up a detailed demolition plan.

The expert committee constituted for overseeing the demolition process will evaluate the demolition plan. If the plan is found satisfactory, the firms will be issued selection notices and work orders. The demolition can be carried out only after the process is completed, explained Mr. Khan.

Later, the council meeting passed the agenda seeking the local body’s clearance for the demolition process. It will be the sole responsibility of the State government to demolish the buildings after taking into consideration the safety apprehensions raised by local residents, the council observed.

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 3:45:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/ritual-at-maradu-apartment-triggers-panic/article29729995.ece

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