KOCHI: Ever since Rema and Ajith K M shifted back to their damaged house next to the demolished Alfa Serene apartment, cloudy skies tense them.
All the three bedrooms in their house, which was hardly 12m away from Alfa Serene, start leaking when it rains and they have to move around with a mop from one room to another.
Ajith, a daily wager, moved into the house, registered in the name of his wife, despite being unable to do the maintenance work because he had no other choice. “I was jobless because of the pandemic and had been paying the rent for more than five months from my pocket,” said Ajit, whose house suffered damage from earthmover and later from the impact of controlled explosion.
He has not yet received the compensation fixed by the technical committee. Ajit is not alone. Maradu municipality has failed to settle the claims of at least three people whose houses suffered damage in the demolition.
“The technical committee has fixed the compensation at Rs 4.5lakh but the insurance company has cleared only Rs.15,000. The municipality had promised to take a decision but I don’t see any action,” said Ajith, who feels even the money fixed by the technical committee would be not enough. “I have to reconstruct at least one bedroom and a bathroom. I am clueless on what to do,” says Ajith.
Sugunananthan, whose house also suffered damages due to careless demolition using an earthmover, was eligible for a compensation of Rs 2.8 lakh.
“The insurance company says I am eligible only for Rs.51,000,” he said. Sugunananthan’s house too leaks when it rains. “The money would not be enough even to pay the labourers,” he said.
Rajeevan Nair, another resident in the vicinity of Alfa Serene said though there was no visible damage to their property, the kitchen started leaking after the rains. “I gave a coat of white paint in the hope that the leak would stop but wet patches keep developing whenever it rains. I don’t even know who to approach,” he said.
As per an agreement all damages above Rs 2.5 lakh was to be met by agencies involved in demolition. For lesser claims the municipality had insured houses in the vicinity for Rs.68 lakh. “Most complaints have been solved by agencies involved in demolition. There is a delay in finalising the insurance claim,” said an official with the Maradu municipality.