Kerala braces itself for Maradu flats demolition

Kochi: The stage is set for the demolition of four high-rise flats tomorrow in Maradu following a Supreme Court order.

The demolition will take place at 11 am tomorrow in the fragile ecozone and a battalion of TV channels has converted the event into a high-profile one with live coverage starting from 6 am.

On Friday, the police and local authorities went house to house around the controversial flats to ensure that all residents have evacuated their homes after switching off the electricity and gas supply.

Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code on land, water and air will be imposed in the evacuation zone of illegal apartment complexes from 8 am to 4 pm on Saturday and vehicular traffic around the area would be stopped. Boat services near the complexes have also been suspended. Two of the flats will be demolished on Saturday and the other two on Sunday.

Inspector General of Police and Kochi Police Commissioner Vijay Sakhare on Friday warned that strong criminal action will be initiated against anyone who attempts to fly drones in the evacuation zone to capture the event that is happening for the first time in Kerala. Flying drones in the area is “extremely dangerous”, since the buildings are “charged” with explosives. Such drones would be shot down, he said.

There would be strict security arrangements in place and the waterways would be manned by coastal police boats and land by 500 policemen along with 300 striker parties for crowd control and traffic control.

On Thursday and Friday, experts filled the two flats with explosives. After a last minute inspection, the flats would be demolished tomorrow. But authorities are worried over the debris as a cloud of dust would envelope the thickly populated area for hours causing health problems. Hospitals in Kochi have been kept on high alert.

A total of 344 flats would literally bite the dust following the Supreme Court order last year that the four apartment buildings – Jains Coral Cove, Alfa Serene, H20 Holy Faith and Golden Kayaloram – be demolished for violation of coastal regulation zone rules.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court today ordered the demolition of a high-end resort abutting the Vembanad Lake for violating coastal rules and regulations.

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