Two illegal apartment complexes were brought down by authorities in Kochi on Saturday morning for violation of coastal regulation zone rules, PTI reported. The demolition was ordered by the Supreme Court last year.
The first building, Holy Faith H2O, was brought down at 11.18 am, followed by the twin towers of Alfa Serene apartment. Holy Faith H2O had 91 houses on 19 floors, while Alfa Serene had 67 houses on 17 floors.
Earlier in the morning, people who live around the two apartments were evacuated. Residents were directed to switch off electricity and all appliances before leaving their homes. They were also asked to close all doors and windows.
Earlier this week, the Kochi Police said in an advisory note that people may witness the implosion of the buildings from outside the evacuation zone. The police said a house-to-house search will be carried out to ensure that all people have been evacuated from the zone.
Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which prohibits the assembly of four or more people, has been imposed from 8 am to 4 pm on land, water and in the air, in the evacuation zone. Police had warned that strong criminal action would be taken against anyone trying to fly drones in the evacuation zone as the buildings would be “charged” with explosives.
The Supreme Court had ordered last year that four apartment buildings – Jains Coral Cove, Alfa Serene, H2O Holy Faith and Golden Kayaloram – be demolished. The two remaining buildings will be brought down on Sunday.
On October 25, the Supreme Court had asked the Kerala government to give Rs 25 lakh interim compensation to Maradu flat owners. The Kerala government had informed that it has so far disbursed Rs 10 crore compensation.
In September, it had said that the demolition process should be completed in 138 days, while the Kerala government had set a deadline of January 9 this year for the demolition.
In November, 40 families filed a fresh petition in the Supreme Court, challenging its verdict to demolish the four apartment complexes. The residents argued that they had not been given a chance to be heard before the top court passed the order on May 8. The Golden Kayaloram Residents Association, in the petition, claimed a “fraud” was played on the court and that it was misled by the committee of local officials that investigated whether the high-rise buildings violated the coastal regulation zone rules.