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The four waterfront apartment complexes at Maradu in Kochi will be demolished on January 11 and 12. The apartments have been ordered to be demolished  by the Supreme Court  which found that they were built in violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules.

The Kerala chief secretary Tom Jose has stated that though the demolition work was to start in December, it had to be postponed due to technical reasons. A total of 1600 kg explosives are required to demolish the buildings through controlled explosion. Emulsion explosives with ammonium nitrate as major ingredient will be used. The technical committee appointed by the government opined that all four flats should be demolished on a single day. However, the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) opposed this move as it could be an adventurous move and demanded that the explosion should be conducted in three days. Indore-based demolition expert Sarad B Sarwate also had the same opinion. Following this, the explosion was scheduled for two days. As January 11 and 12 are Saturday and Sunday, the demolition was fixed for these days.

It would take just twelve seconds to bring down one highrise. Two highrises will be pulled down on the first day and the other two on the second. All precautionary measures including evacuating people within a 200-metre radius and regulating traffic on the nearby highway will be done, he said.

The court had on September 30 refused to entertain a plea of flat owners seeking stay on its order to demolish the four apartment complexes in Maradu which were built in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone norms.

The apex court had directed demolition of the flats within 138 days, a timeline given by the Kerala government, and had asked the state to pay Rs 25 lakh interim compensation to each flat owner within four weeks.

It had said the government may consider recovering the interim compensation amount, which will be paid to flat owners, from the builders and the promoters. The court had earlier ordered setting up of one-member committee of retired high court judge to oversee the demolition and to assess total compensation payable to affected flat owners.

Besides, it directed freezing of assets of builders and promoters who were involved in the construction of illegal buildings in the coastal zone areas of Kochi. The court had clarified that its primary concern was that no construction should have been carried out at the eco-fragile coastal zone and the question was not regarding any individual.

The state government had submitted a plan under which in 138 days the structure would be demolished — including 90 days for demolition and 38 days for removing of debris.

The court had passed the order after taking note of a report of a three-member committee, which said when the buildings were built, the area was already notified as a CRZ and construction was prohibited.

Earlier, the court had rejected a plea filed by the residents of the area against the demolition order and taken a strong exception to an order passed by a vacation bench during the summer break of the apex court, which had stayed the demolition of these buildings for six weeks. Chambers by the Supreme Court without an open court hearing to the residents.

—India Legal Bureau

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