Residents of 52-year-old Santacruz society allege harassment at hands of Mumbai civic body; say they are being forcefully vacated. BMC officials threaten to bring down building, but cops can't help
Residents outside the Vakola police station
While BMC officials are going all out to woo citizens in the wake of the elections, a group of disgruntled members of a housing society are desperately trying to get the civic body off their back.
Last night, residents of 52-year-old Bijlee Cooperative Housing Society in Kalina made an urgent call for help to the police after BMC officials threatened to bring down their building. However, the police couldn't help as it is not authorised to register a case against the corporation.
According to the residents, around six families of the housing society have joined hands with the builder and BMC to bring down the building. They alleged that these families were promised monetary rewards. While the BMC had sent an eviction notice on January 21, the other residents had approached the court to put a stay order. The matter is currently sub-judice.
Resident KJ Arvind made a call to the BMC after he noticed cracks on the walls of his flat
Meanwhile, on Thursday, one of the residents KP Arvind, who society members alleged is hand-in-glove with the builder, called up the BMC and complained that his ceiling was collapsing. According to residents, Arvind had deliberately tried to pull down the ceiling of the flat by hammering into the wall. The families immediately filed a counter-complaint with the BMC disaster management.
However, instead of receiving help, the residents saw BMC officials arrive around 9 pm, asking them to vacate their homes. “The matter is sub judice and we are fighting for our rights. Arvind purposely hammered into the wall so that the ceiling would collapse. It's a clear case of sabotage. But, even the police did not take our complaint,” said Richard D'souza (78), a resident.
"Time and again, BMC officials have threatened to throw us out. We will seek police protection as we fear for our lives," said Sangram Singh, 52, another resident. "If the government officials and police go against us, who will ensure our safety?" asked D'souza.
When contacted, Arvind said the allegations were false. “I left the building a year ago, and currently reside in Bengaluru. Yesterday when I entered my flat, I saw big cracks on the ceiling and walls,” he said.
Prashant Gaikwad, assistant municipal commissioner and ward officer of H/East said, "We have already declared this building as dilapidated and also submitted structural reports on the same. Yet, the residents are causing trouble. We are considering filing a police complaint against the residents."