Kochi: Leaders back owners on eve of demolition day

Deccan Chronicle.  | Deccan Chronicle

Nation, Current Affairs

Kodiyeri said the flat owners will not be left in the lurch and that the CPM will stand by them.

Residents of the flats at Maradu, which have been ordered to be demolished by the Supreme Court, sit in protest before the office of the Maradu Municipality (Photo: DC)

Kochi: The owners of the apartment complexes at Maradu facing demolition have received support from various political leaders. Opposition Lead-er Ramesh Chennithala, CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, BJP state general secretary A.N. Radhakrishnan and others visited them and listened to their woes on Saturday.

Mr Chennithala said the government should file a fresh affidavit stating that there was no need to demolish the flats.

Mr Kodiyeri said the flat owners will not be left in the lurch and that the CPM will stand by them.

The owners, meanwhile, staged a sit-in at one of the flat complexes in the morning before shifting the protest to the premises of the Maradu municipal building.

Mr. Chennithala told reporters that the state government should not have filed an affidavit in the apex court stating that steps were being initiated to demolish the buildings.

The government should file a fresh affidavit correcting its earlier position, he said and added that a letter would be sent to the chief minister in this regard.

Mr Kodiyeri, who inaugurated a solidarity meeting with the owners held by the CPM district committee, said the state government would be persuaded to do the maximum possible to protect the flat owners.

 “The Supreme Court has given an unprecedented judgment that goes against the spirit of natural justice,” he said.

Listing out the difficulties involved in the demolition, he said the cost alone would be Rs 50 crore on which the court remained silent.

 The state cannot afford to spend such huge amounts for demolition of flats when it is struggling to reconstruct the state in the wake of the floods, he said. Mr A.N. Radhakrishnan said the party will take steps to protect the owners.

Civic body steps:

Maradu municipality secretary M. Mohammad Arif Khan said the civic body would take further steps as per the directive of the state government. The deadline given to the owners by the civic body to vacate the premises ends at 5 p.m. on Sunday. A representative group of 12 persons informed the municipality that they would not vacate the premises as the notices served to them were against the right to life and property. The residents have also launched an indefinite sit-in before the office of the civic body from Saturday.

The apex court has fixed September 20 as the deadline to demolish the buildings. The court is also scheduled to consider the case on September 23. It may take up a curative petition filed by the residents of one of the apartments soon.