In the wake of the Supreme Court directive to demolish four apartment complexes constructed in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone norms, an all-party meeting called by the Kerala government on Tuesday wanted the Union Ministry of Forest, Environment and Climate Change to be joined as a party in the case. The decision was part of the state government’s bid to ensure that the flats are not razed.
The meeting was held to take stock of the situation arising out of the SC ultimatum to demolish the complexes and the protests by the residents.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who chaired the meeting, said that as per the Environment Protection Act, the Union government has the power to give relaxation in such cases (regularisation of illegal buildings). “We hope the Union government would use its power in this issue. The state government wanted the Union Ministry of Forest, Environment and Climate Change implead a party in this case. The state has also urged the Ministry to bring to the Supreme Court’s notice the environmental impacts in the event the flats are demolished. The Union minister was also informed about the gravity of the issue,’’ he said.
He added that attempts to protect the apartments would be made only after convincing the Supreme Court.
The meeting observed that it was the Constitutional obligation of the state government to implement the Supreme Court order, but previous court verdicts on the issue had been in favour of the builders and it was on this basis that residents had bought the flats.
Builders are responsible for this crisis, and the government would explore the possibility of blacklisting these builders, he said.