In a place that is surrounded by water bodies, how cautious should new buyers be while buying property to avoid flouting Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms? This must be on every Kochiite’s mind post the Supreme Court order to demolish four prime properties in Maradu, Kochi for violating the CRZ rules. Was there information asymmetry? Were the residents of the apartments aware that the builders had violated CRZ rules? In this case 350 flat buyers seem to have thrown all caution to the wind when they invested heavily in these water-front properties which would have cost (by a rough estimate) nearly a crore per apartment.
The Apex court’s latest directive came on September 6, 2019 questioning the Kerala Government’s failing to carry out its May 8 order to demolish four apartment buildings—Holy Faith H2O, Alfa Serene, Jain’s Coral Cove and Golden Kayaloram by builders Holy Faith, Alfa Ventures, Jain Housing and K P Varkey & V S Builders respectively, for violating CRZ norms. In the face of losing their homes, the residents of these apartments have refused to vacate their flats and politicians of all hues have descended in front of the buildings in solidarity with the residents.
Besides the huge financial costs to bring down the four buildings and the possibility of environmental as well infrastructural damage in the surrounding areas, it’s causing a huge headache to the Kerala government caught between the SC verdict and the emotional outpouring of the residents who are about to lose their life savings and their homes.