SC raps Kerala over Maradu flats, residents hopeful

New Delhi: Even as the Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Pinarayi Vijayan-led Left government in Kerala for inaction in the Maradu flat demolition case, the flat residents are hopeful of getting a reprieve on Friday.

The Maradu complex comprises 356 flats in five buildings and houses 240 families. The apex court had on September 6 ordered its demolition by September 20 for violating the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules.

On Monday, the Kerala government sought the help of top lawyer Harish Salve hoping that it could swing things in residents’ favour, but it failed to have any impact.

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However, reacting to the happenings in Delhi, a flat resident expressed hope for a positive outcome. “We are waiting to hear what the court will say on Friday,” said a resident.

Meanwhile, Kerala Local-Self Government Minister A.C. Moideen said the state government had nothing but to abide by the apex court directive. “The due process of law has set in and we have nothing else but to abide by the apex court directive and will now wait for it,” said Moideen.

But Ernakulam Lok Sabha member Hibi Eden blamed the Kerala government for letting the issue reach this stage. “This has now become a humanitarian issue for the residents. But there was a lapse on the part of the government. It did nothing to get compensation for residents,” said Eden.

The top court linked the loss of lives in Kerala floods to the situation, saying the natural calamity was due to the government failing to act against illegal structures. “You are playing with nature, even in high tide area, nothing is left,” observed the Bench, headed by Justice Arun Mishra.

At one stage, the court said it could ask for a survey of the entire Kerala CRZ areas to ascertain illegal structures. “We will not spare any one responsible for killing people all over Kerala,” said the court.

The court also noted that devastation, due to natural calamities, was taking place all across leading to loss of lives. It’s duty of the state to protect the people, it added.

The court told Kerala Chief Secretary Tom Jose, who appeared in person, his affidavit didn’t indicate the government’s intent to implement the demolition order. Apparently, it looked the state government was acting in defiance, it added.

“This can’t happen in a civilised country, this is colossal loss. It’s a patent breach of law,” said the court making a strong observation on the conduct of the state government.

“Thousand of crores of properties were lost and so many people died due to flood in Kerala. Still so many structures were coming up in the coastal region in Kerala,” said the court.

The court has set Friday for the next hearing. But pointed that it might pass a detailed order earlier.

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