Kerala

Razed homes leave flat owners heartbroken

Film director Major Ravi, who owned a flat at H2O Holy Faith, greets Joe Brinkman of Jet Demolition at Maradu on Saturday. Jet Demolition is the technology partner of Edifice Engineering, Mumbai, which pulled down the apartment.

Film director Major Ravi, who owned a flat at H2O Holy Faith, greets Joe Brinkman of Jet Demolition at Maradu on Saturday. Jet Demolition is the technology partner of Edifice Engineering, Mumbai, which pulled down the apartment.  

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‘A moment of absolute helplessness’

Watching H2O Holy Faith, an apartment complex which she once called her home, going down like a pack of cards on television, 90-year-old Santhama was just dumbstruck.

Now living with her daughter Maya Premamohan in a rented apartment at Kakkanad, the nonagenarian simply could not get her head around the logic of a perfect structure being brought down.

“She was asking whether people had turned mad to do such a thing,” said her 60-year-old daughter who had lived with her mother in the apartment for eight years and had been to see it one last time on Friday.

Shamzudeen Karunagapally, president of H2O Apartment Owners Association, had turned up with his 21-year-old son to witness the demolition of their beloved home. “It was a moment of absolute helplessness. But crying would not have changed anything,” he said.

Noormuhammad, who lived in Alfa Serene for over seven years, said he now absolutely hated the entire area of Nettoor. “I have never visited the place since leaving. Let people and the judge who ordered the demolition enjoy the spectacle,” he said from his flat at Mattancherry.

Having lived through the emotional trauma of seeing their apartments pummelled, owners are beginning to turn attention towards claiming their rights over the land where the apartments once stood and better compensation matching their investments.

“There is no question of legally claiming the land as it rightfully belongs to us, and the court had only ordered the demolition of structures that stood there. The authorities will have to remove the debris and restore the land to us,” said Alex Joseph, a 68-year-old former occupant of an apartment at Alfa Serene.

He added that a decision on future legal recourse will be taken after the apex court takes up the case on Monday and depending on the future mandate of the Balakrishnan Nair Commission appointed by the court for overseeing the distribution of compensation.

“We were cheated by the government, officials, and the builders and have the right to be duly compensated,” Ms. Premamohan said.

Legal battle on cards

Mr. Shamzudeen said a legal battle would be launched for the rightful compensation. He claimed that the apex court had directed the authorities to pay compensation proportionate to the payments the owners had made to the builders.

“Apartment owners have undivided ownership of the land. Once the debris is removed, we will rope in architects and legal experts for a feasibility study and submit a report to the Central and State governments and the departments concerned seeking permission for building an apartment complex to accommodate all of us,” he said.

Mr. Noormuhammad hoped that the owners had a right over the land since it was registered in their names.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 10:02:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/razed-homes-leave-flat-owners-heartbroken/article30546249.ece

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