Kochi: Authorities have started evacuating owners of apartments in four Maradu highrises before their demolition.
On Sunday, revenue and municipal officials collected data, including bank details, to complete the process by October 3.
Electricity and water supply to all four apartments were restored post noon to help them vacate the buildings - H2O Holy Faith, Alpha Serene, Golden Kayaloram and Jain Coral Cove.
“We’re collecting details and holding document verification to rehabilitate them and provide interim compensation,” said a revenue official on the condition of anonymity.
“The only difficulty being faced is with the case of NRIs who are yet to return, though most of them have agreed to move out.” The official said nearly 510 residential units have been identified in different locations of the city to accommodate them.
“We’ve no other option before us and are planning to move out," said K. P. Ouseph, an ‘Alpha Serene’ resident.
“We’re in talks with packing and shifting agencies. We request authorities to provide us with suitable accommodation at the earliest.”
Earlier in the morning, sub-collector in charge of demolition process Snehil Kumar made it clear that the government won’t use force but help them to shift. He also held a meeting with officials of concerned agencies.
After the collector’s meeting, the revenue and municipal authorities visited all affected apartments and started the data collection.
The KSEB and the KWA authorities followed them and restored power and water connection temporarily.
“We’re going there only to help them. We won’t use force under any circumstances," Mr Kumar told reporters.
"But now there is no other way than the demotion following the Supreme Court order. They have to move out by October 3.”
While most flat owners cooperated, those living in ‘Holyfaith H20’ protested demanding more time. An owner, Jayakumar Vallikavu, even started an indefinite hunger strike.
“The government should give us sufficient time to move out. Many NRI owners could not return all of a sudden," he said.
"Their valuables are there. The government should also pay rent for alternate accommodations instead of asking us to meet the same.”
He withdrew the protest following talks with district collector S. Suhas who agreed to most of their demands.