Maradu demolition: How the saga unfolded over 13 years

Here is a timeline of the events that led to the decision to demolish the building in Maradu

January 10, 2020 12:18 pm | Updated December 03, 2021 08:11 am IST

A view of the apartment towers at Maradu in Kochi

A view of the apartment towers at Maradu in Kochi

The Maradu demolition saga began 13 years ago when the Maradu panchayat issued show cause notices to five builders including H2O Holy Faith, Alfa Serene, Golden Kayaloram and Jain Coral Cove for violating the Coastal Regulation Zone norms, Floor Area Ration and other building rules. One builder chose not to construct the apartment after the notice.

The builders moved the Kerala High Court challenging the stay order. The single Judge allowed the writ petition filed by the builders.

The local body then went in appeal to the Division Bench. The Division Bench dismissed the appeal filed by the municipality stating that the builders could not be take to task.

The Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority approached the Division Bench with the review petition.

The Division Bench rejected the review petition filed by the Authority.

The remains of an apartment in Maradu after the residents vacated it after removing everything, including door frames.

The remains of an apartment in Maradu after the residents vacated it after removing everything, including door frames.

 

Later, the Authority moved a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court against the Kerala High Court order.

On May 8, the Supreme Court ordered the demolition of the apartments for violating the provisions of the CRZ. The review petitions filed by the residents were also rejected by the apex court.

The Supreme Court order came as a rude shock to the residents. Several political parties and organisations rallied behind the residents and staged protest marches. The Supreme Court refused to entertain another batch of review petitions filed by the residents and ordered the State government to execute the order.

The Kerala government dilly-dallied on the implementation of the court order, which invited the wrath of the apex court . The court directed that the buildings shall be pulled down by before September 20 . It also directed the Chief Secretary to appear before it.

The Chief Secretary tendered unconditional apology and submitted the timeline for the demolition.

On September 24, 2019, the Maradu municipality issued notices to the residents of these apartments to move out of their homes.

The State government also appointed Snehil Kumar Singh, the Fort Kochi RDO, as the special officer for implementing the demolition works.

Later the flat dwellers were asked to vacate their homes. The administration snapped the power supply lines to the buildings after the residents refused to move out. As the pressure increased, the residents began the eviction and the buildings were taken into custody by the Maradu municipal authorities.

Edifice Engineering, Mumbai, and Vijay Steel, Chennai, were picked up for demolishing the Maradu apartments.

Workers cover the pillars of Alfa Serene apartment after it has been loaded with explosives.

Workers cover the pillars of Alfa Serene apartment after it has been loaded with explosives.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court ordered ₹25 lakh compensation for all the apartment owners as interim compensation and appointed a committee led by a former judge of the Kerala High Court to oversee the disbursement of the compensation. The court also ordered that the bank accounts of the builders shall be frozen.

The Crime Branch of the Kerala police booked cases against the builders and arrested the directors of the company. Later, the directors were released on bail.

The Maradu municipality has fixed January 11 and 12 as the dates for pulling down the apartments .

Meanwhile, residents in the neighbourhood of the flats, especially Alfa Serene, raised an alarm over cracks developed in their houses as pre-demolition works gained momentum. This prompted the district administration to insure nearby houses for damages suffered from the demolition work.

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