Kochi's hapless Maradu apartments owners, who are in dire straits, in the wake of a Supreme Court ultimatum to demolish their flats, are all set to send a mercy petition to the President and Prime Minister to check the move.
The 346 flat owners of four luxury complexes took the collective decision as a last-ditch effort to save their apartments that were bought with their life savings but were built in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms.
The petition, which will be signed by all occupants, will be forwarded via email, courier and speed post, seeking intervention by the top-level executive authorities of the country.
Support for the hapless flat owners, who are facing the biggest threat of their life time as the municipal authorities had given a notice on Tuesday to vacate the flat within five days, is coming from various corners. It is learnt that all 140 MLAs in Kerala have decided to extend a helping hand by sending a similar plea to the heads of the central government.
The apartment owners, who have started a series of agitation to stop razing of their flats, reiterated that they have not violated any rules and many of them bought it with bank loans. Several flat owners have paid as much as Rs 65 lakh and above for a flat from their hard-earned money, while several occupants are pensioners, aged and sick.
According to Maradu Municipality's notice to residents of four apartments - Jains Coral Cove, Golden Kayaloram, H2O Holy Faith and Alfa Serene - they will have to vacate their flats to implement the Supreme Court ultimatum. The residents have decided to challenge the notice in Kerala High Court on Monday, requesting court's intervention in 'forced removal' as the state has to provide protection to their lives and property.
In July, the apex court dismissed a review plea filed by the builders and in an ultimatum issued on September 6, the court ordered the government to demolish the apartments and file a compliance report by September 20.
Support From Different Corners
Meanwhile, a former Union Minister and a judge on Thursday came out in support of flat owners of the Maradu apartment complex.
Former judge of the Kerala High Court, Kemal Pasha, who visited the apartment complex on Thursday, said the state government is morally responsible to provide all help and assistance to the flat owners.
Similarly, senior Congress leader and former Union Minister of Environment Jairam Ramesh tweeted supporting the demands of flat owners, saying that there should not be any discrimination in the case of Maradu flat owners.
Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly and senior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala demanded that both the Centre and the state governments should adopt a humane approach in this case and help the flat owners.