The Kerala government on Sunday said that steps are being taken to demolish the four illegal apartment complexes in Kochi, as per the 138-day action plan approved by the Supreme Court.
"Companies having expertise in demolishing the buildings have been shortlisted. The buildings will be handed over to them for demolition in four or five days," Chief Secretary Tom Jose said after chairing a high-level meeting with officials.
The Chief Secretary said steps are being taken to comply with the Supreme Court order.
As per the plan, the site is expected to be handed over to the successful bidder for demolition on October 11.
Residents of all the flats in the four illegal apartment complexes had vacated the premises by October 4 in accordance with the deadline for eviction.
The top Court had on September 27 directed demolition of the apartment complexes within 138 days, a time-line given by the Kerala government and asked the state to pay Rs 25 lakh interim compensation to each flat owner within four weeks.
The Chief Secretary said the government would constitute a committee with expertise from various departments like PWD, Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) and Pollution Control Board to oversee the selection of technology and demolition process.
A committee headed by Justice Balakrishnan Nair will look into the payment of Rs 25 lakh to each flat owner, he said, adding the compensation would be paid within the four-week deadline set by the Supreme Court.
Jose said steps have been taken to address the concerns of people living in the vicinity of apartment complexes, which will be demolished by controlled implosion.
"They will be evacuated from the neighbourhood at the time of demolition," he said.
The meeting was attended by Kochi city police chief I G Vijay Sakhare, Ernakulam District Collector S Suhas and Snehil Kumar Singh, Sub Collector, Fort Kochi, who also holds additional charge of Secretary of Maradu municipality.
According to sources, the Kerala State Remote Sensing and Environment Centre has identified 9,522 buildings within a one km radius of the apartment complexes to be issued an alert.
The government is expected to issue notices to the occupants of all these buildings to alert them of the impact and take precautionary steps during demolition.
The four multi-storey waterfront apartment buildings ordered to be demolished cover 68,028.71 square meters.
The Maradu municipality has an area of 12.35 sq kms and has a population density of 3619 people per sq km.
Besides being a highly urbanised municipality, it is near the sea and is crisscrossed with water bodies.
The government has said that the entire set of activities, including evacuation of the residents and demolition of structures would be completed in 138 days.
Based on discussions with the bidders, the Secretary of the Municipality has assessed that the minimum time taken for the demolition would be 90 days.
According to the action plan, the whole process, including the removal of debris, will be completed by February 9, 2020.