New Delhi: Residents of the four residential complexes in Kerala’s Kochi, which have been earmarked by the Supreme Court for demolition for violating the environmental norms of the state, on Sunday called off their hunger strike against the state government’s drive to evict them from their homes. Also Read - Pay Rs 25 Lakh as Interim Compensation to Owners: SC Directs Kerala on Illegal Flat Row
The strike, which began Sunday morning, ended after the residents had a productive meeting with the Ernakulam district administration, which agreed to some of the demands put forward by the protestors. In the meeting, the administration promised to provide them with alternate accommodation and implement, in one week, the Supreme Court’s order to pay them an interim compensation of Rs 25 lakh. Also Read - SC Slams Kerala Govt For Not Demolishing Kochi Illegal Flats, Accuses Govt of 'Defiance'
On May 8, agreeing with the Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority’s (KCZMA) assertion in the top court that the four complexes-Holy Faith, Golden Kayaloram, Alfa Serene and Jain Coral Cove-violated the state’s Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms, the Supreme Court had directed the Kerala government to demolish the buildings by September 20. However, 350 families, who were to be affected by the apex court’s order, launched protests alleging that not only were their voices not heard but also questioned why they should be punished for the mistake committed by the builders. Also Read - Kochi: Kerala Government Calls All-Party Meet, As Deadline to Demolish Flats Nears
They also questioned where they would go in such a short span of time.
The Supreme Court had pulled up the state government twice, on September 6 and 23, for not implementing its order and, on the latter occasion, even accused the government of ‘defying’ its order. On Friday, it ordered that an interim compensation of Rs 25 lakh be paid to each of the flat owners. The government then came up with a plan to evict the residents by October 3, so that the demolition process can begin by October 11.
The complexes are located in Kochi’s Maradu municipality, facing the seashore.