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SC orders demolition of 5 high-rises in Kerala's Ernakulam for violating coastal zone rules

A bench headed by Justice Arun Misra delivered the verdict and directed the concerned authorities to clear the buildings within one month and to submit a report before the court.

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The Supreme Court has ordered the demolition of five high-rise apartments in Ernakulam's Maradu municipality near Kochi for violating the provisions of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules, according to a report in The Hindu.

The top court, in its verdict, ordered levelling of apartments named -- Alfa Ventures, Holy Faith, Kayaloram, Holiday Heritage and Jain Housing.

A bench headed by Justice Arun Misra delivered the verdict and directed the concerned authorities to clear the buildings within one month and to submit a report before the court.

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The bench said that the state cannot bear illegal constructions with the danger of floods and heavy rain looming large.

What was the issue?

In 2006, the permission to construct the buildings was granted when Maradu was a panchayat. The building permission, in violation of CRZ was, however, cancelled when the Panchayat was elevated to the municipality level. The reason behind the move was that the permit was granted by the panchayat to the builders without obtaining the concurrence of the Kerala Coastal Zone Management Authority (KCZMA) who is the authority to grant approval for construction within a CRZ area.

Builders had challenged the municipality’s decision in the Kerala High Court where the verdict went in their favour. After this, the KCZMA filed a writ petition in the SC. On November 27, 2018, the SC passed an order seeking an expert committee to report on whether the area wherein the apartments were sanctioned and constructed comes under CRZ II or CRZ III.

The committee submitted its report stating that as per the CRZ notification of 1991 and Kerala Coastal Zone Management Plan (KCZMP) 1996, the area in question came under CRZ III. As per the CRZ notification 1991, no construction is permitted within 200 metres from the coastal line in CRZ III.

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First Published on May 9, 2019 10:19 am
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