The deadline for the owners of Maradu apartment complexes to vacate has been extended till midnight by the authorities who are firm on not going beyond Thursday. Orders have been issued to disconnect the power and water supply to the flats by midnight, restored two days ago on the request of the flat owners.
According to officials, there were about 90 residents still staying back as they claimed that they had not found alternative places which was promised by the government. It is believed that there were over 350 residents in the flats, some of who had taken the flats on rent. There is still no clarity on the number of people staying there, according to sources, as some of the flats are under lock and owned by non-resident Keralites. A group of NRKs has said to have landed in Kochi and set to remove their belongings.
The Supreme Court ordered demolition of the flats as they were constructed violating the Coastal Regulation Zone norms. On the plea of the State Government seeking time to demolish the flats, the court ordered initial payment of Rs 25 lakh each to the flat owners. A committee headed by former judge of Kerala High Court Balakrishnan Nair would oversee the compensation part.
As part of the compensation package, the apex court ordered that it should be collected from the builders. It ordered attachment of the personal properties of the builders and also froze their bank accounts.
However, sources said that some of the owners were yet to officially record possession of the flats which could complicate their receiving compensation. Also, some of the flats were still not sold and in possession of the builders themselves. The authorities are in contact with the government to fix these matters.
The deadline for vacating the flats was fixed at 5 pm on Thursday as per the direction of the Supreme Court. However, sticking to the October 3 deadline, Sub-Collector Snehil Kumar, who has been entrusted the charge of overlooking the eviction process, said the time had been extended till midnight and there was no issue of extending it further.
The Maradu municipality had invited tenders from companies engaged in demolishing flats and has now zeroed in on three firms with which it has been in discussions to ensure a method whereby there is little impact on the environment and the neighbourhood.
The Government was forced to take action as the court had reprimanded it and even asked the Chief Secretary to appear in person.
Officials, including top police personnel, are holding talks to look at options in case residents refuse to move out even after the midnight deadline ends. The District Collector is expected to be present there and ensure that the apex court directives are followed.