- Illegal construction in high-tide areas caused Kerala floods: Top Court
- Kerala Chief Secretary to conduct a survey and review the devastation
- Won't hesitate in prosecuting officers concerned for loss of life: Court
Illegal construction in high-tide areas of Kerala led to devastating floods in the state last month, the Supreme Court said today as it slammed the state government for not following its orders on demolition of four apartment complexes at Kochi's Maradu.
The top court said it is shocked to know about the illegal structures coming up in coastal areas and asked Kerala Chief Secretary Tom Jose to conduct a survey and review the extent of devastation caused to nature.
"You are in patent breach of law. Your attitude is of defiance. Thousands died in devastation. How many houses have you built for victims? Yet illegal structures continue to come up in coastal areas," a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra told the Chief Secretary.
The court said it will not hesitate in prosecuting officers concerned for culpable homicide for loss of life."What is happening there we know. We will fix responsibility on those responsible. This is a colossal loss. It's a high tide area and hundreds of illegal structures have come up in the coastal zone", the bench said.
On September 6, the top court had ordered the demolition of apartment complexes in Maradu near the backwaters of Ernakulam for violation of Coastal Regulatory Zone rules. The top court had asked the state government to file a compliance report by September 20.
Chief Secretary Tom Jose, who was asked to make a personal appearance in top court if state government fails to submit compliance report by September 20, today tendered an "unqualified apology" to the court. "I tender my unqualified apology for any aspect on my conduct which this court construes not to be in accordance with its order," he told the court.
In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the state government pointed out practical difficulties in demolishing the two residential complexes at Maradu.
Giving details of the number of flats and the demography of the area, the affidavit said: "There are 343 flats in the four multi-storeyed apartment buildings covering an area of 68,028.71 square meter. The municipality has an area of 12.35 sq km and is densely populated with a population of 3,619 sq kms. Two national highways namely NH-47 and NH-47(A) pass through this area".
Today, the top court said it will pass a detailed order on the issue on Friday.
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