Fear snowballs as Kochi flat demolition date approaches

Fear snowballs as Kochi flat demolition date approaches

Harshamma, residing near Alfa Serene apartment, showing the cracks developed at her house following the preliminary demolition activities at the apartment

As the D-day for the five high-rises at Kochi in Kerala approaches, fear in snowballing among hundreds of nearby residents as cracks have already developed in 15 odd houses owing to the preliminary demolition work using a mechanised jackhammer.

Twin towers of Alfa Serene apartment pose the major risk as about 35 odd houses are located within a 50-metre radius.

The demolition of the five luxury apartment towers at Maradu in Kochi, as per an order of the Supreme Court for flouting CRZ norms, is scheduled for January 11 and 12.

As assurances of the Kerala government to provide insurance coverage to the nearby houses still remains on papers, the local residents are forced to gear up for a resistance.

A group of local people led by Maradu municipal chairperson T H Nadeera called on Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday and raised their concerns and the chief minister assured that the safety of the nearby residents would be ensured.

Nadeera told DH that they urged the Chief Minister that the Golden Kayaloram and Jain's Coral Cave shall be demolished initially as the number of houses near those two complexes were very few. Hence the impact of the controlled explosion of the high-rises that are over 15 storeys could be assessed.

Nadeera also said that so far there was not clarity in the insurance coverage offered to the nearby houses and no proper structural analysis of the nearby buildings were done.

Residents near Alfa Serene twin apartment complex said that they have been living in a tremor like situation over the last few weeks. "Cracks were development in around 15 houses with in 25 metres of Alfa Serene when a the swimming pool tower collapsed. Then what would be the impact when the entire two towers that are over 15 storey collapses all on a sudden," asks Hari, one of the nearby resident.

"Officials, including Sub Collector Snehil Kumar Singh, who is in charge of the demolition, visited the houses and were almost convinced that the demolition of the high-rises poses serious risk to the nearby houses. But even then the residents' plights were not being addressed genuinely," said Nadeera.

"Most of the families facing the risk were economically weak. The entire locality was once marshy and wet lands and hence the basement of the houses were also not so strong," she said.

Apart from the risk posed to their houses, the people were also complaining of health hazards caused by heavy sound and dust. "Those who were living in these luxury flats managed to shift to safe locations. But now the nearby residents are facing the hardships," said Joseph, a resident near Holy Faith apartment.

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