All the owners of 343 flats in four illegally constructed high-end buildings in Kochi that have been scheduled for demolition will get a uniform interim compensation of Rs 25 lakh, the Supreme Court said today. The order comes after a one-member panel, which is overseeing the compensation and demolition in the case, recommended payment of less than Rs 25 lakh for certain flat owners depending on the size of a flat and court was told that some of the flat owners were given a lesser amount.
The builders of apartment complexes in the Maradu neighbourhood have been asked to deposit an interim amount of Rs 20 crores with the court-appointed panel within one month. The top court said the attached bank account of the builders will be detached for depositing Rs 20 crore with the committee.
"People are dying in hundreds. Who is responsible - the builders," the court observed.
The top court had ordered the demolition of Kochi flats on September 6 for violation of Coastal Regulatory Zone rules, setting a deadline of 138 days.
On September 26, the court had said the flat owners must be paid ad hoc compensation of Rs. 25 lakh within 4 weeks. The court ordered Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's government to pay the compensation and recover the cost from the builders
Today, a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra rejected a petition by builder association Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (CREDAI) that the Maradu flats be not demolished and put to some other use.
"We are not going back from our demolition orders. This matter can't be agitated afresh. Our order is final," the bench said.
The Kerala government also informed the court that they have till now disbursed over Rs 10 crore as interim compensation to flat owners.
According to the state government the flats, of approximately 2,300 square feet each, were valued at Rs. 39 lakh each, according to the documents.