Maradu flats demolition: Filling of explosives completed

Kochi, Jan 8 (PTI) Preparations for razing down four multi-storey illegal apartment complexes here entered the final stage with the work on filling explosives in the inter- connected holes drilled in the structures for the purpose being completed on Wednesday.

As the demolition using controlled implosion method was set for January 11 and 12, authorities said people living in the neighbourhood would be evacuated as a precautionary measure on the two days and ban orders under Section 144 of CrPC imposed in the evacuation zone from 8 am to 4 pm to prevent movement of public within a 200m radius.

People may witness the implosion from any place outside the evacuation zone, police said in a detailed advisory issued on Wednesday night.

All traffic air borne, water borne and land based -- are prohibited in the evacuation zone, it said adding since all buildings have been charged with explosives, none shall fly drones from immediate effect.

Earlier, Kochi police commissioner and Inspector General Vijay Sakhare took an assessment of the preparations being made to bring down the illegal structures, as had been ordered the by the Supreme Court for violation of coastal regulation zone norms.

Meanwhile, the residents living in the neighbourhood have approached the Kerala High Court seeking its intervention to ensure that they get adequate compensation amount in case if their houses were damaged during the demolition of the apartment complexes.

Edifice Engineering and Vijay Steels and Explosives companies, which have been engaged for the work, completed the work of filling the explosives on Wednesday, setting the stage for the demolition of the apartments in Maradu municipal area.

The intermediate walls of the buildings have been knocked down through pre-demolition works and now the apartments are standing on bare structures. Explosives have been filled in the inter-connected holes of the structure.

Officials of the Edifice company have said the demolition will be carried out safely without causing any damage to buildings in the neighbourhood.

'I would request all the residents--there is nothing they should fear. No vibrations...nothing much. It is already a marshy land', a company official said.

The 19-floor H2O Holyfaith apartment complex having 90 flats and the Alfa Serene complex with 73 flats in its 17 and 12 floors twin towers would be demolished on January 11 in a gap between 11 am and 11.05 a.m.

While the 17-floor Jain Coral Cove apartment complex with 122 flats would be razed at 11 a.m on January 12, the Golden Kayaloram with 40 flats and 17 floors would be demolished at 2 p.m, authorities said.

The water bodies around the flat towers are also part of the exclusion zone and entry in the water bodies was also prohibited during the demolition process, police said.

House to house search would be carried out for ensuring 100 per cent evacuation of people residing in the zone ahead of the demolition.

They may return to their homes once police removes barricades from the roads leading to the evacuation zone, they said.

A total of 343 waterfront flats were built in the complexes violating the Coastal Regulation Zone norms.

The apex court in September last year had directed demolition of the apartment complexes within 138 days, a timeline given by the Kerala government.

On May 8 last year, the apex court had directed that these buildings be removed within a month as they were constructed in a notified CRZ, which was part of the tidally- influenced water body in Kerala.

The court had passed the order after taking note of a report of a three-member committee, which said when the buildings were built, the area was already notified as a CRZ and construction was prohibited. PTI TGB VS VS