Kerala govt rejects flat owners demand for more time to vacate
Kochi: The Kerala government on Wednesday rejected residents' demand for more time to vacate their flats in four illegal apartment complexes here and said they would stick to the October 3 deadline set for leaving the place.
Authorities said they were going ahead as per the 138-day action plan for demolishing the buildings, and warned the residents of legal consequences if they refuse to move out by tomorrow.
"The deadline (for vacating the flats) ends tomorrow.
That is the direction (from the government)," a senior official of the Maradu municipality told reporters here.
He said the power and water supply to the apartment complexes, temporarily restored two days ago for facilitating the smooth relocation of the residents, would be disconnected automatically on Thursday.
As the deadline for vacating their flats nears, residents alleged that no temporary dwellings for them have been arranged by the administration so far.
The flat owners said they would not leave the buildings till the authorities complete the arrangements for their relocation.
"We are caught in between the devil and the deep blue sea," a resident said.
They threatened to relaunch their protest seeking a humanitarian approach from the authorities.
According to them, at least 10 days were required for the relocation from their flats.
The Ernakulam district administration said those who want assistance in finding a home can approach authorities of Maradu municipality.
The authorities commenced the eviction process on Sunday by visiting the owners to help them relocate.
On Tuesday, the residents had said they were receiving embarrassing responses when they contact people entrusted by the administration to arrange alternative houses for them in the city.
Earlier, the administration had claimed that they have identified over 500 flats in the city and its premises for the relocation of the people living in the four apartment complexes for their temporary rehabilitation.
The administration had also provided mobile and telephone numbers of those to be contacted for getting the accommodation.
The 343 waterfront flats built in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone norms are located in Maradu municipality here.
Adding more woes to the authorities, people living in the neighbourhood have sought an assurance from the government on the issue of adequate compensation if their houses are damaged when the unauthorised buildings are demolished by controlled implosion.
Locals have said the area would witness strong protests if the authorities do not give them an assurance on compensation.
Authorities have reportedly zeroed in on three firms having experience in demolishing structures using controlled implosion method.
Last week, the Supreme Court had directed demolition of the apartment complexes within 138 days, a time-line given by the Kerala government, and asked the state to pay Rs 25 lakh interim compensation to each flat owner within four weeks.