Kerala: Stage set for demolition of Marudu flats
Kochi: The stage is set for the demolition of four high-rise flats today in Maradu near here following a Supreme Court order.
The demolition will take place at 11 am in the fragile ecozone and a battalion of TV channels has converted the event into a high-profile one with live coverage starting from 6 am.
On Friday, the police and local authorities went house to house around the controversial flats to ensure that all residents have evacuated their homes after switching off the electricity and gas supply.
Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code on land, water and in the air will be imposed in the evacuation zone of illegal apartment complexes from 8 am to 4 pm Saturday and vehicular traffic around the area would be stopped. Boat services near the complexes have also been suspended. Two of the flats will be demolished on Saturday and the other two on Sunday.
Inspector-General of Police and Kochi Police Commissioner Vijay Sakhare Friday warned that strong criminal action will be initiated against anyone who attempts to fly drones in the evacuation zone to capture the event which is happening for the first time in Kerala. Flying drones in the area are “extremely dangerous” since the buildings are “charged” with explosives. Such drones would be shot down, he said.
There would be strict security arrangements in place and the waterways would be manned by boats of coastal police, land by 500 policemen plus 300 striker parties, for crowd control and traffic control.
On Thursday and Friday, experts filled the two flats with explosives. After a last-minute inspection, the flats would be demolished tomorrow. But authorities are worried over the debris as a cloud of dust would envelop the thickly populated area for hours causing health problems. Hospitals in Kochi have been kept on high alert.
A total of 344 flats would literally bite the dust following the Supreme Court order last year that the four apartment buildings – Jains Coral Cove, Alfa Serene, H20 Holy Faith, and Golden Kayaloram – be demolished for violation of coastal regulation zone rules. On October 25, the Supreme Court had asked the Kerala government to give Rs 25 lakh interim compensation to Maradu flat owners. The Kerala government had informed that it has so far disbursed Rs 10 crore compensation.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court today ordered the demolition of a high-end resort abutting the Vembanad Lake for violating coastal rules and regulations.