Kochi's Maradu apartment owners are in dire straits in the wake of Kerala government rejecting residents' demand for extending an October 3 deadline to vacate their flats.
The authorities would proceed with their 138-day action plan for razing four posh waterfront apartments and warned of legal consequences if the residents fail to meet the deadline.
Although Maradu municipal authorities last week identified 512 flats in 28 complexes situated in and around the locality for the residents' temporary rehabilitation, most of these flats were not available. The residents have said that they would not leave the buildings until the authorities make alternative arrangements for their relocation.
"We are caught in between the devil and the deep blue sea," a resident was quoted as saying by PTI.
Of the 346 flat owners, merely fifty have been shifted so far, said Jayakumar, a resident of H2O Holy Faith apartment.
Earlier on Sunday, the residents had ended their hunger strike and agreed to vacate before the deadline after the authorities gave an assurance of arranging alternative accommodation
The residents have carried out a series of agitations, including hunger strikes and protests in front of the municipal corporation, to stop razing of their flats ordered by the Supreme Court.
The state authorities said the power and water supplies to the four apartment complexes - Jains Coral Cove, Golden Kayaloram, H2O Holy Faith and Alfa Serene - would be disconnected automatically on Thursday. It was temporarily restored only two days ago.
According to the action plan, the municipality will take possession of the buildings on October 4 and proceed with further steps for razing the buildings. The four apartment complexes, which were built in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone norms, would be demolished using controlled implosion method.
The authorities have reportedly shortlisted three firms – Edifice Engineering (Mumbai), Subramaniam Chemicals and Explosives Pvt Ltd (Coimbatore) and Vijay Steels and Explosives (Coimbatore) – for demolition. It will be completed within 90 days while removing the debris and clearing of the site will take another 30 days.
The apex court last week had directed demolition of the apartment complexes within 138 days, according to a timeline given by the Kerala government, and asked the state to pay Rs 25 lakh interim compensation to each flat owner within four weeks.