CRZ violation: Kochi residents keep fingers crossed

Waterfront apartments at Kochi in Kerala.

Hundreds of residents from five waterfront apartments on the banks of Kochi backwaters in Kerala are keeping their fingers crossed as the Supreme Court on Thursday rejected the revision petitions against its earlier order to demolish the apartments owing to a violation of Coastal Regulatory Zone norms.

While the residents were pinning their hopes on the option of filing a curative petition, the Kerala government on Friday gave a relief.

Kerala Local Self-Government Minister A C Moideen said that the government would not hastily demolish high-rises as it may lead to serious environmental hazards. The government stand may be on a collision course with the SC, which was quite vehement on the CRZ violation.

The residents say that they had purchased the flats years back through proper channels and have been paying land and building tax to the government regularly.

“Why should the layman be made to suffer owing to a fault on the part of the builder or the sanctioning authorities?” said Binoj B, one of the residents.

Many residents are worried as they don’t have any other place of residence.

“My kids are only studying and this flat is our lone residence. If we are pushed out of it, I have no other option but to end my life,” another resident Joyson Pallan said during a discussion a few days ago.

Among the five flats, Golden Kayaloram is over 20 years old, while the remaining four — H20 Holy Faith, Alfa Serene, Jains Coral Cave and Holiday Heritage — are about 10 years old.

Altogether there are about 350 flats, of which there are permanent residents in over 200 flats.

Meanwhile, the Kerala environment department also sought the service of experts from IIT Madras to look into what the environmental impact of the apartment complexes could be.

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