Alappuzha: The Supreme Court order to raze five highrises at Maradu, Kochi, may remain on paper as in the case of a resort in Panavally panchayat here which was not demolished in spite of an apex court order passed in October 2013.
The panchayat has expressed its inability to act citing ecological issues, including lack of facilities to dispose the large quantities of waste materials.
The High Court had ordered in July 2013 to demolish two resorts, Vamika Island owned by Green Lagoon company, and Kapico by Kapico Kerala Resorts on a private island at Nediyathuruthu. The order was upheld by the Supreme Court in October the same year.
Pradeep Koodackal, panchayat president, said the administration was helpless as it has no funds to execute the order and clear the concrete wastes that will damage Vembanad lake as well.
All the 72 villas constructed by Kapico lie useless for the last six years. “They have failed to pay building tax of `5 crore to the panchayat and we have issued a notice for revenue recovery,” he said.
The district administration, on October 10, 2013, had issued notices to Kapico and Vamika to demolish their illegal constructions within ten days. Only Vamika was demolished.
Two persons — K.R. Ratheesh and K. Sailan of Panavally — filed a contempt of court on June 25, 2014. Following this, a petition signed by MLAs and religious leaders was submitted to the then chief minister Oommen Chandy urging him to submit a report to the SC to protect tourism development in the state. But the Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishat (KSSP) Alappuzha unit protested against this move.
Mr Sailan said the contempt filed by him is still in the SC. “Recently, a team appointed by Union Ministry of Environment and Forest had submitted a report recommending the demolition of the buildings. However, the government did not submit a report in court under the influence of the resort management. In the wake of new verdict on flat complexes, I am sure the SC will take strict action on them,” he said.
The then Opposition leader V.S. Achuthan-andan, on August 5, 2014, had flayed the UDF government for not implementing the SC order. After visiting the site, he said that he will register an official complaint with the state and Union governments demanding implementation of the court order.
“I have no hope of the SC order being implemented,” said K.M. Poovu, convener, Vembanad lake protection council. “The authorities have failed to implement court orders so far. Even after six years, no action has been taken against the tainted resort owner. I think the future of the flat complexes in Maradu will be the same,” he said.
However, the apex court continues to issue strictures on the CRZ violations. In July, 2016, it had asked the HC to take up the cases on Vembanad lake encroachments. The SC, in a suo motu action, urged the state government on August 1, 2013 to report the CRZ violations in Vembanad lake and other coastal areas within six months. According to CRZ notification 2011, Vembanad is classified as Critically Vulnerable Coastal Area (CVCA), which is a Ramsar site (wetland of international importance). At least 33 per cent of lake area has shrunk in the last 50 years.