KOCHI: Seven-year-old Ayaan Das, a Class II student at SH Public School, Thevara, residing at Holy Faith H2O apartment near Maradu, was playing alone in the premises on Friday without knowing that he is going to lose his residence within a few days.
However, that is not the case with his guardians. The nearly 300-odd children below the age group of 18 in the 357 apartments in Maradu facing demolition are the worst affected by the threat of the demolition.
On Friday, the district Child Welfare Committee (CWC) visited the Holy Faith apartment and met children. A team led by CWC vice-president K.S. Arunkumar interacted with the children for more than one hour.
According to Saniya P. Kottam, a 14-year-old student of Toc H Public School, Vyttila, discussion about the issue of the flat demolition is all that she hears nowadays. “I see desperate faces all around me every time. Exams are coming and I am not able to concentrate on my studies. I don’t even know whether I will be in the same school a few days later,” she said.
Meanwhile, her sister Riya P. Kottam had a different story tell. Riya, an LLB student at Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat), is tired of telling her friends and batchmates that the residents of the apartment have not done anything wrong. “Most of them are thinking that we did something wrong and so are suffering like this. Some of them asked why we encroached the backwaters to build the flat,” she said. “They don’t want to hear about builders or issues regarding Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ). Most of them are unaware about that.”
Meanwhile, 16-year-old Ramesh Krishna is worried about losing his friends in the apartment. “We used to play every day. But for the past few days, nobody is coming out of their flats,” he said.
Mr Arunkumar said that CWC listened to issues of children and they are very much depressed to see desperate faces everyday. “We will be providing support to them and give proper counselling to prevent them from falling into a mental trauma. From what we have learnt from them, some of them are not getting sleep due to this issue,” he said adding that they will be visiting all the apartments in the coming days.
The space in front of the Holy Faith apartment, which is usually a centre for Onam games by its residents, especially children, was empty this time as they were in front of the Maradu Municipal Office protesting for their living space on the day of Onam....