All efforts put in by residents to regularise their flats seem to have been in vain, as the Supreme Court rejected their plea against vacating their homes yesterday; owners started packing and shifting their belongings
The final ray of hope for residents of the disputed flats in the Campa Cola society in Worli diminished yesterday, when the Supreme Court rejected their plea to stay evacuation of their flats. After the apex court dismissed the plea in the morning yesterday, inhabitants started packing their bags.
Some residents are moving in with relatives and friends, while others plan to stay on in the society premises. Residents were seen gathering their belongings, after their last hope of retaining their flats was dashed yesterday. Pics/Datta Kumbhar
Residents had gone last week to the vacation bench of the SC to ask for an extension period to allow them to stay in their homes, and also to help regularise them. To their dismay, the application was turned down.
They were seen moving their packed luggage to their relatives’ flats. Some preferred hiring a godown to temporarily store their belongings, until a solution is worked out. Homeowners couldn’t find packers at such short notice, and had to do the shifting themselves. Devyani Jaykar, one of the affected residents, said, “I’m the only one doing all the packing, as my family is out of town.
I don’t even have packers coming in to help; they claim they aren’t available at such short notice.” Vinaychand Hirawat, a resident from Midtown apartments, stated, “This has been a very torturous year for us and our problems are never-ending. But, we can’t let our houses be demolished.
I will fight for my house till I die.” Sandeep Gupta, from BY apartments, told mid-day he was moving in to a friend’s flat as “the government hadn’t offered any help.” Rajesh Manot, another resident of Midtown, says he will build a tent in the society premises and stay there, along with his belongings, as a mark of silent protest.
The hammer will fall on a total of 96 flats that have been deemed illegal by the BMC. The civic body had given them till June 2 to hand over the keys to their homes in order to facilitate peaceful evacuation. But no one has done so till now. Civic authorities had even threatened to file a contempt of court case due to this.
Spent a bomb
It has been more than a year since the controversy over the flats came into the limelight. The committee formed to save the homes spent over Rs 5 crore on the legal and publicity campaign, only to leave them homeless.
A homeowner, on condition of anonymity, confessed, “We have spent so much over R5 crore. Now we are left with nothing. The builders haven’t been brought to book, and we are the one suffering.” The costs include engaging lawyers, and also hiring a public relations firm, which ensured the issue was communicated to the media well.
After various hearings and extensions of demolition orders, and a final stay on it in November 2013, the highest judiciary body in the country has deemed that residents need to vacate their flats, in order that BMC may proceed to demolish the unauthorised flats.
>> May 2, 2013: Order for demolition of the illegal flats was extended and evacuation postponed by five months
>> October 2013: Residents were allowed to stay on for another 40 days
>> November 11, 2013: On the decided day for demolition, BMC shows up at society and faces massive protest
>> November 12, 2013: SC takes suo moto cognisance of the case and stays evacuation date by another 6 months
>> May 26, 2014: BMC gives residents till June 2 to submit keys to their flats for peaceful evacuation
>> May 30, 2014: Residents submit fresh plea to vacation bench of SC against evacuation and demolition
>> June 2, 2014: With no keys having been handed over, BMC claims it will file contempt of court case
>> June 3, 2014: Supreme Court dismisses latest plea
Number of flats to be demolished