“Have you any idea how many people have died due to floods because of the devastation caused to the environment. You are playing with nature. Thousands of people have died in devastations. How many houses have you built for victims? Yet illegal structures continue to come up in coastal areas,” the bench told the Chief Secretary of Kerala.
With the recent ruling of the Supreme Court of India that suggests probe into all illegal buildings in the state, more than a thousand flats built violating environmental laws are facing the threat of demolition, reports say. The court had earlier given an ultimatum to demolish five flats in the locality that challenged the norms of the government.
Many residential apartments in Cochin, the largely populated urban landscapes in Kerala are built flouting environmental rules and regulations with active assistance from government officials. The government’s own study reveals the same after the Marad issue was brought this to light. However, the irregularities are with the silent support of government officials and often with direct involvements by political leaders.
The apex court had pulled up the Chief Secretary of Kerala and gave him a dressing down for not demolishing the flats in Marad for violating environmental rules. The court had observed that these violations also contributed to last year’s devastating floods in Kerala. The Supreme Court’s verdict will affect every other construction that was built illegally and no relief could be given to anyone of it.
“Now, you are in great difficulty. We are telling you. You should conduct a survey to gauge the extent of devastation caused to nature. Do you know the extent of colossal loss caused to nature? We are shocked to see this. No permissions were taken from the coastal zone authority. This could not happen,” the court said. The court is to give a detailed ruling on this issue on Friday.
Meanwhile, water and power supply to Marad flats have been cut off by the authorities. The government had earlier issued instructions to the Kerala Water Authority and Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) in this regard. Oil and gas companies too would be asked to end supply of LPG cylinders to the flats.