KOCHI: With politics preventing the handover of the 34 houses built for rehabilitation of Kavalappara flood victims, the high court on Tuesday ordered Malappuram district collector to collect the keys and hand over the houses to the beneficiaries forthwith. The court said the delay, despite completion of construction, was unjustified.

Justice Anu Sivaraman issued the order after considering a petition by a resident of Chalikkal Colony at Chungathara through advocate CM Mohammed Iquabal.

The houses were built at Chembankolly by Federal Bank under its corporate social responsibility (CSR) scheme for the families of the colony who had lost their houses during the 2019 floods.

When the construction started, the Nilambur MLA and his henchmen had obstructed it and the then district collector had removed them and allowed the construction to go on, the petition supported by news reports said.

The state government was trying to accommodate some other families in the houses due to the influence of the MLA. The said MLA is obstructing the implementation of the project as he was not invited for the foundation-laying ceremony, the plea said.

Even though a mass representation was filed before the present district collector seeking rehabilitation to the houses in question, no action is being taken, it was alleged. Government pleader submitted that the delay in shifting the families to the houses is due to the Covid-19 situation.

In the order, the court said, “Having considered the contentions advanced on all sides, I am of the opinion that since the project is complete and the residences are ready for occupation, the continued delay… is completely unjustified. In the above view of the matter, the 5th respondent (Federal Bank) shall hand over the keys of the project to the district collector forthwith. The district collector is directed to take appropriate steps to see that the beneficiaries are rehabilitated to the project as contemplated initially without any further delay. The needful shall be done within a period of three weeks from date of receipt of a copy of this judgment.”

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