New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Kerala government to pay an interim compensation of Rs 25 lakh each to the flat owners in the four residential buildings in Kochi, which, concluding that these buildings are in violation of environmental norms, the top court has directed the state government to demolish. Also Read - SC Slams Kerala Govt For Not Demolishing Kochi Illegal Flats, Accuses Govt of 'Defiance'
Further, the apex court also directed that a committee be set up to evaluate the said compensation amount. The committee, as per the SC orders, should comprise retired judges, technical experts and a civil engineer. Also Read - Kochi: Kerala Government Calls All-Party Meet, As Deadline to Demolish Flats Nears
The SC order comes just a day after the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) cut off the power supply to the four buildings in the city’s Maradu Municipality. Following this, earlier today, residents of Holy Faith, one of the four buildings to be demolished, arranged for power generators. Also Read - Kochi: SC Cites Environmental Norms to Order Demolition of Flats, Residents Protest
On May 8, the Supreme Court ordered the Kerala government to demolish these flats upholding the assertion by the Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority that the builders constructed these buildings in total violation of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ). It gave the state government time till September 20 to carry out its order. However, with the demolition yet to be carried out, the SC, in a hearing on Monday, lashed out at the government for ‘defying’ its order and said that it would pass its judgment on Friday.
The residents of the four buildings, which apart from Holy Faith, include Golden Kayaloram, Alfa Serene and Jain Coral Cove, have refused to move out saying that they have nowhere to go and that they should not be punished for the builders’ mistake.
However, according to reports, that state government has come up with a 138-day timeline to carry out the SC’s orders. Reportedly, it will begin the demolition drive from October 11 and on September 29, ask the residents to move out. The process is expected to be completed by October 3.
On the whole, the government expects to complete the demolition process in three months.