Recently four high-rise luxury apartment illegal buildings were razed off in Maradu municipality in Kochi following the orders of Supreme court. Sending a strong message to violators of environmental norms, the Supreme Court ordered demolition drive against four illegal waterfront apartment complexes was completed on Sunday, 19th January 2020 with the last two high rises pulled down using controlled implosion method. These were the four concrete colossuses housing nearly 350 flats which were built illegally violating the Coastal Regulation Zone norms.
The Supreme Court had in September 2019 directed demolition of the apartment complexes within 138 days after the Kerala government submitted the time line for carrying out the operation.
The buildings were reduced to piles of rubble in seconds one after another over the last two days.
In a precise sequence, over 350 kgs of explosives filled in the structures were blasted in a controlled manner at the end of the third warning siren and the concrete colossus came crumbling down in seconds, triggering mammoth ‘clouds’ of dust.
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The question arises why these buildings were demolished?
These buildings were standing illegally in Coastal regulation zone(CRZ) which was against environmental regulations. The buildings had been built on the shore of Vembanad wetland, renowned for its rich biodiversity. Due to high demand of waterfront apartments, there are many such buildings which are built in ecologically sensitive zones.
It is well known that a wetland is a distinct ecosystem that is flooded by water, either permanently or seasonally, where oxygen-free processes prevail. The primary factor that distinguishes wetlands from other landforms or water bodies is the characteristic vegetation of aquatic plants, adapted to the unique hydric soil. Wetlands play a number of functions, including water purification, water storage, processing of carbon and other nutrients, stabilization of shorelines, and support of plants and animals. Wetlands are also considered the most biologically diverse of all ecosystems, serving as home to a wide range of plant and animal life.
The wetland is a part of the strictly restricted zone for construction under the provisions of the CRZ notifications, which aim to protect the ecology of the coast.
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We must also understand what CRZ is?
Under the Environment Protection Act, 1986 of India, the coastal land up to 500m from the High Tide Line (HTL) and a stage of 100m along the banks of creeks, estuaries, backwaters and rivers subject to tidal fluctuations, is called the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ). The coastal areas have been classified as CRZ-1, CRZ-2, CRZ-3, CRZ-4.
The constructions that were demolished were present in CRZ-3. These were constructed illegally by conspiring with local level authorities. This decision of supreme court will set an example against such illegal constructions and environmental violations.
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