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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Demolition of Kapico resort on Vembanad Lake nears completion

The demolition of the illegally constructed villas and other structures of Kapico Resorts Pvt. Ltd on Nediyathuruthu island on Vembanad Lake is nearing completion.

Officials said that all 54 villas had been razed to the ground. “The transportation of debris from the site has begun. Further, the demolition of the main block has started. We have been told by the resort management that the entire demolition process will be completed by March 25,” said a Revenue department official.

Last month, the Supreme Court directed the authorities to complete the demolition of the resort by March 28, 2023. The apex court threatened to initiate contempt proceedings against the Chief Secretary if the government failed to comply with the deadline.

The demolition began on September 15, 2022, 32 months after the Supreme Court ordered the razing of the high-end resort, citing that the constructions on the backwater island at Panavally grama panchayat in Alappuzha violated coastal and environmental regulations.

The structures are dismantled by a private agency entrusted by the resort management under the watchful eyes of the Alappuzha district administration and the local panchayat. “The demolition and transportation of debris are carried out in an environmentally safe manner. The Pollution Control Board is checking air and water quality at regular intervals,” the official added.

Days before the demolition began, the State government reclaimed 2.93 hectares of puramboke land encroached upon by Kapico on the island.

The razing of the resort is seen as a major victory for the fishing community and a message against constructing structures violating the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Act and other norms. It was in 2007 that the 11.5-acre island was bought by Kapico. It soon began work on the resort. The project, however, changed the life of fisher families in the area after 13 licensed stake nets got removed for building villas.

The legal battle began after a fisherman moved the Cherthala Munsiff Court in 2008 demanding the demolition of villas constructed in violation of the CRZ Act. The petition also sought damages and restoration of nets. However, the court dismissed the petition. Later, the Cherthala Sub Court issued a stop memo to Kapico in 2010 and the legal proceedings soon reached the Kerala High Court.

In the meantime, Kerala Matsya Thozhilali Aikya Vedi (TUCI) and others impleaded in the case. The High Court ordered the demolition of the structures in 2013. Though Kapico challenged the verdict in the apex court, it dismissed the appeals on January 10, 2020.

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