Controlled implosion of a multi-stories residential flat in Maradu
Controlled implosion of a multi-stories residential flat in Maradu|Dell
In My View

Maradu will be repeated: The bad news

P.C. Punnen

P.C. Punnen

We have read a lot about the demolition of the four buildings in Maradu, formerly a village in Ernakulam, and seen a case of double standards of our political leaders of all sorts. The one question I think, in the case of the demolition of the flats in Maradu is the principle the law of caveat emptor and how far does the principle help the builders and harm the buyers. In public view, the most unfortunate people, the buyers, who in principle were cheated by the builders, one doesn't know for sure, have no options left. Time will tell.

The builders were in league with the government servants and indirectly all our politicians. Otherwise the buildings would not have come up and there are many people who have the same opinion.

This is bound to become an issue which the newspapers and the government cannot avoid; they can put it off by a few years maybe. Regional Country and Town planning departments recently submitted a report to the government saying they have detected 3916 illegal constructions violating the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ). The report is with the district collector of Kozhikode. The list was prepared based on the direction given by the Kerala government in the wake of the Supreme Court order to demolish four apartment blocks in Maradu. It further says that out of the 3916 constructions, 1657 illegal constructions are in Kozhikode Corporation itself.

This is an indication of how serious the issue has been made in Kerala considering it has 14 districts. In other words it is the tip of an iceberg. The Kerala chief secretary Tom Jose has said the government hasn't yet taken any decision on these violations. Thanks to the Supreme Court verdict the government cannot wait. A decision has to be made and most probably these illegal constructions have to be demolished. So the government is in serious trouble; the only thing is all political parties and major builders are involved one way or other. It is a very serious issue in which the government or Jose can't play for time. It is a serious issue for Keralites too because the number will rise when we consider all 14 districts.

This is an issue which the government alone can save because of the involvement of scores of politicians of all hues, bureaucrats and simple government servants in league with the builders. The same thing must have happened in the neighbouring states.

We all have violated the law. Law is an ass especially in India, goes a saying, Most of us escape by hook or crook. Viewed in this angle, the demolition of the four blocks looks like a small event but the media made it into a big one. What will happen if thousands of flats have to be demolished today or tomorrow?

The case may affect thousands and thousands of people. They may have been ignorant of the laws; they would not have known that the construction was in violation of all laws; they may have thought their violations could be overlooked because of the involvement of the high and mighty, a case of many ifs and buts. In any case the Marad victims deserve sympathy for they are the victims here.

One wishes the builders don't get away easily even though they have the support of the government and politicians. One thinks the builders can't go scot free even though they will have lawyers who will impress the court with their sophistry and the politicians with their bribes. There is a view that in Marad itself the demolished buildings can be rebuilt by making vast changes in the building layout and the CRZ rules have changed since their construction. I doubt whether this view will pass muster.

In any case, some of the government employees have been held accountable; some have gone to jail but there the matter doesn't end. Some government employees are yet to be touched by the government. The reason is very clear, they are party men. But this can't continue indefinitely. Some action will have to be taken or some of the buyers will raise the issue. In no way can we the people and they the government employees, escape. For the Supreme Court verdict is clear.

This is what is happening in Kerala. Whether the person is a CPM cadre or a sympathizer, a Congress supporter or BJP supporter, or a Muslim League member, there is no respite. In short, we Keralites are in for big trouble. Even the Cardinal has to answer questions related to land dealings. In one way it is most welcome, but think of the labour and appeasement we tried; all for the upliftment of our society and our daily needs which we can restrict.

The sophistry of us which we as citizens gained as we grew older will help us one hoped. This is quite pertinent in the 25 lakh rupee compensation the Kerala government gave to the Marad flat owners. It is doubtful if the government did well in giving that money hoping to get it from the builders tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes, there is a saying.

The loss will be huge if it comes to demolition of all illegal constructions in Kerala. Is that possible??