Maradu flats: Kerala committed to abide by SC directive

Delhi/Kochi, Sep 20 Even as the deadline for the demolition of the flats at Maradu in Kochi ends on Friday, the Kerala government has submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating that it is committed to abide by the Court's directive, for which steps have already been taken.

The affidavit, filed by Chief Secretary Tom Jose and running into six pages, also states that he should be forgiven for any wrong acts and be excused from appearing personally on Monday.

The affidavit was submitted after several rounds of legal consultation and is seen as a ploy to buy time as the government has submitted an expert committee's report by IIT Chennai, which highlights the serious environmental hazards that will have to be tackled when the demolition takes place.

In the affidavit, Jose points out the detailed steps that the government has taken to go ahead with the demolition after the Supreme Court ordered it.

The Maradu complex comprises of 356 flats in five buildings and 240 families are living there. The apex court had, on September 6, ordered its demolition by September 20 for violating the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules.

The apex court had also asked the Kerala Chief Secretary to be present before the Justice Arun Mishra-headed Bench on September 23 and with today's affidavit, it remains to be seen what the court will decide on Monday.

Jose, who was in Delhi for submitting the affidavit, is returning to the state capital.

In a related development, the Kerala High Court on Friday kept aside a petition filed by a flat resident pointing out that the time given by the Maradu Municipality for eviction was too less.

But the High Court pointed out that the apex court verdict has to be abided by in all respects, and posted the petition for next Tuesday.

At an all party meeting held here earlier this week to discuss the Supreme Court order, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said that the Kerala government has decided to approach the apex court again.

But at Maradu, those facing eviction are hoping against hope that on Monday there will be some relief for them.