Rs. 25 Lakh Compensation For Illegal Kochi Flat Owners For Now: Top Court


Rs 25 Lakh Compensation For Illegal Kochi Flat Owners For Now: Top Court

The flats were built in violation of coastal zone regulations


New Delhi: The owners of flats in illegally constructed high-end buildings in Kochi that have been scheduled for demolition must be paid ad hoc compensation of Rs. 25 lakh within 4 weeks, the Supreme Court said today. The court also said the demolition of all four buildings must be completed within 120 days, in accordance with the schedule provided by the state.

“Our primary concern is violation in construction but we’re not against them (flat owners). We can’t leave them in the lurch. They have to be compensated suitably,” the court said, adding, “If you are not doing it, we will ask someone else to do it”.

In response, the state government said it was engaging an agency for the demolition and had already disconnected water and power supply to more than 340 flats.

“The order comes as some relief for flat owners. The rest of the compensation amount will be decided by a single-judge committee to be set up by the Supreme Court,” Kerala Chief Secretary Tom Jose told NDTV, adding, “We will recover this amount from the builder. The principal is that the polluter pays, so whoever polluted the environment will be made to pay”.

He also made an appeal to flat owners and residents to cooperate with the government after flat owners and residents – who range from retired professionals to bankers, doctors and celebrities – refused to vacate.

The top court has ordered Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s government to pay the initial compensation amount and recover the cost from the builder. The court has also agreed to the state government’s demolition plan.

The next hearing has been fixed for October 25.

Written by Anindita Ghosh