The demolition man will start his work on October 9 bringing down 357 apartments in four buildings in Maradu municipality on the outskirts of Kochi on the orders of the Supreme Court. In the process, he will expose the collective failure of the governance structure in the state at every level for long. The desperate pleas of the owners, most of whom have invested their life savings, did not find favour with the apex court which found the structures violating coastal regulation zone rules and insisted that the law take its course.
The law regulating construction in the coastal areas was passed in the late eighties but it took almost 20 years for the state to notify the rules. The builders who spied big opportunities found a corrupt bureaucracy and pliant political class perfect accomplices in the flagrant violation of the law and its rules. Inconsistent judicial pronouncements, often pardoning the violators after imposing fines that were never exemplary, did not help either. The Supreme Court has now taken a comprehensive view of the case and ordered a full-stop to it once and for all. It has not only ordered a compensation to the buyers, but also freezing of the accounts of the builders and registration of criminal cases against them.
While the court has done its bit to do justice to the fragile ecology, it leaves the rest of the job to the government. It must take the job seriously at least now. To begin with, it must notify the norms in a time-bound manner, prepare a map as per the rules and publish them all on its website so that prospective buyers have a definite reference point.