All political parties in Kerala back Kochi flat owners

All political parties in Kerala back Kochi flat owners

All major political parties in Kerala have rallied behind the owners of 350-odd flats in Kochi that the Supreme Court has asked to be demolished, for violating CRZ norms.

Citing precedents of high-rises flouting norms being regularised by imposing fines, the political parties want the government to take steps to protect the interest of flat owners and residents.

With the residents adamant that they would not vacate the flats unless duly compensated, the local body that issued the notice to residents to vacate the flats also decided to act as per the Kerala government's decision on the matter.

The Kerala government is exploring further legal options as the SC, which issued a strict directive to demolish the five water-front high-rises by September 20, is scheduled to consider the case again on September 23. The flat residents are also submitting a mercy petition to the President of India as well as a curative petition before the SC.

Senior Congress leader and former environment minister Jairam Ramesh were among those who came out in support of the flat owners. He asked in a tweet why the Supreme Court has ordered the demolition of the flats in Kochi, as the DLF flat in Kochi and the Adarsh flats in Mumbai that had also violated norms were regularised by imposing a fine.

Senior leaders of the Congress, which is the Opposition in Kerala, extended support to the Left-front government in the state to initiate steps to protect the interests of the flat owners. Many families purchased flats by spending hard-earned money and selling all other wealth. Hence, they deserve a humanitarian consideration, said Kerala Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala.

BJP state president in Kerala P S Sreedharan Pillai and CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan also backed the flat owners, making it easy for the Kerala government to initiate steps in favour of flat owners.

Demolishing the apartment complexes, which are around 20-storey-high, also pose serious environment challenges. The Kerala government is awaiting a report from experts from IIT Chennai on the issue.