Demolition process begins at Vembanad

SC has upheld HC ban on construction of structures on the backwater island

The authorities have initiated preliminary steps to demolish the illegally constructed villas of Kapico Kerala Resorts Pvt. Ltd. on Nediyathuruthu island on Vembanad Lake.

The Supreme Court on January 10, 2020, dismissed appeals by Kapico against a Kerala High Court order banning the construction of resorts and removal of structures on the backwater island. The court observed that the constructions violated coastal and environmental regulations.

Last week, Subcollector Ilakkiya, Cherthala tahsildar P.G. Rajendra Babu and other officials visited the resort. The officials said they were in the process of valuing various items at the resort.

“The resort has electrical and mechanical equipment among other items. Its valuation should be carried out. We have conducted a preliminary inspection and experts will now conduct a detailed examination. Once the valuation is completed, a detailed action plan will be prepared for demolishing the structures in due time,” said an official.

Although the responsibility of demolishing the structures lies with the Panavally grama panchayat, the local body has already informed the government of its lack of expertise and finance to carry out the task. It would be a challenge to prevent debris, including hazardous waste, falling into the lake during the demolition and transportation.

Kapico constructed 54 villas, a main block, among other facilities, over a period of six years from 2007. In March 2013, the Kerala High Court ordered the demolition of Kapico along with illegal structures constructed by Vaamika Island (Green Lagoon Resort) on Vettila Thuruthu, also on Vembanad Lake.

The High Court ordered removal of unauthorised structures within three months. Following this, Vaamika moved the Supreme Court. Their petitions were dismissed by the court stating that Vembanad Lake was an ecologically sensitive area.

While dismissing the appeals filed by Kapico, the court noted that “we do not know how this finding can be held to be applicable only to Vettila Thuruthu island.”

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