Prep Underway to Demolish Maradu Apartments, Neighbours Nervous
The demolition was ordered by the Supreme Court last year and is scheduled to be held before 12 January.
The five towers of the four apartment complexes built at Maradu in Kerala's Ernakulam district will be demolished by 12 January. Once full of life, the buildings have today lost all colour. We were present at the site on Friday, 3 January.
The demolition was ordered by the Supreme Court last year in September as the buildings were constructed in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms.
The twin towers of Alfa Serene and Holy Faith H2O Apartment will be razed on 11 January via a controlled explosion.
Jain Coral Cove Apartment will be demolished the next day at 11 am and the Golden Kayaloram will be razed to the ground at around 2 pm on the same day.
We saw workers vigorously stuffing and installing sandbags on top of the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) pipelines in the area.
The sandbags are said to minimise the effects of the explosion, acting as a shield.
As we stood there observing the movement of the workers, a van packed with explosives reached the H2O apartments. A security force accompanied the van.
The explosive materials will be loaded in the building only after the permission is granted by the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) to fill the holes with explosives.
The first edifice of Alfa Serene was brought down a while ago. The swimming pool was also demolished at the time but it was a problem to several neighbouring residents in the area.
KR Shaji, who lives close to Alfa Serene, tell us:
“There are houses at Maradu that are more than 67 years old. When a swimming pool was demolished earlier, there were problems as cracks were identified in the houses and buildings nearby the Alfa Serene apartments.”
The residents started an indefinite hunger strike in December 2019 demanding compensation for possible damage to their houses.
“We submitted our grievances to the authorities through a complaint letter. We also approached the chief minister on 22 November. We waited till 9 December but there was no progress. So we started an indefinite strike in front of the Alfa Serene.”
The strike was called off on 31 December.
“We called off the strike after AC Moideen, Minister for Local Self Government, guaranteed us relief for our demands that include providing compensation, and the postponing of the demolition of Alfa Serene.”
The residents have asked for Jain Coral Cove and Golden Kayaloram to be demolished first as they are situated around relatively less populated areas.
Shaji told us that out of the 18 houses that were identified as cracked, the authorities have completed structural auditing for only eight. “We pleaded the minister for completing the audit for the rest of the homes too,” he says.
(Camerapersons: Harikrishnan DS, Rahimeen KB)
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