Maradu flat owners end protest, agree to move out after fruitful meeting with district authorities
IANS Photo

Kochi: The residents of the Maradu flat complex, set for demolition, on Sunday decided to move out of their homes after a meeting with Ernakulam district authorities, paving the way for implementation of the Supreme Court directive. The total of 240 families who occupy 356 flats in the four buildings in the Maradu complex, will be moving out latest by Thursday.

The apex court had on September 6 ordered demolition of the complex by September 20 for violating the Coastal Regulation Zone rules. On Sunday morning, the flat residents had began an indefinite protest, but called it off at around 3 p.m. after talks with top district authorities, who had reached the spot, led to an amicable solution.

Talking to media after the meeting, the representative of the flat owners said that they have decided to end their protest and move out. "The discussions were fruitful and most of our demands have been agreed to by the district authorities, who will find suitable alternate accommodation for us besides paying the rent. Hence we have decided to end our protest and cooperate with the authorities so as the Supreme Court orders are adhered to," one of the representatives said.

Following the agreement, the district authorities made arrangements to restore the electricity and water connections to the complex. The Supreme Court has directed the Kerala government to disburse Rs 25 lakh as interim compensation to each flat owner within four weeks and later recover it from the builders.

The top court also appointed Kerala High Court's retired judge K. Balakrishnan Nair to head a three-member committee which will include a technical and civil expert to decide on any increase in the compensation amount, and to oversee the demolition.

Kochi Sub-Collector S.K.Singh , appointed as special officer in charge of demolition, confirmed that several companies who have expertise in demolition, have expressed their willingness to participate in the tender process and it will be done soon.

Meanwhile, Crime Branch chief Tomin Thachenkery arrived at the flat complex on Sunday, as the Kerala government have entrusted it to conduct a probe into the entire episode and find out the wrong-doers. According to the affidavit submitted by the Kerala government in the top court, the demolition would be completed in 90 days and the debris would be cleared in another 30 days.

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