Residents of the Campa Cola compound put up a united front on day two, forcing civic officials to retreat. BMC says they could be served contempt of court notices any time now
Campa Cola residents secretly thanked the VIPs who landed up in the city on Saturday, for ensuring their homes survived for another day. With most police officers away on VIP duty, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) workers who landed up to disconnect power, gas and water lines, found only a skeletal police force backing them up — not enough to force their way through past the determined residents who put up a blockade.
Campa Cola residents plead with BMC officials to spare their homes
However, before they sounded the retreat for the second consecutive day, BMC officers told the residents they would be back on Sunday, which is the civic body’s day off from work. Sources within the BMC said the civic body was in a hurry to demolish the illegal flats but had warned the residents that their attempts to take on the law would go against them in court.
Former Deputy CommissionerBMC, GR Khairnar with residents PICS/Suresh KKK
Speaking to sunday mid-day, a few residents of the flats set to be demolished said they would continue their protest since a contempt of court notice would give them more time to stay in their houses and think of a strategy to save their homes.
Earlier on Saturday at around 11.45 am, several BMC staff along with the demolition staff, BEST and Mahanagar gas employees, reached the compound to disconnect the electric and gas supply. But residents did not allow them to step inside the compound.
Also read: Campa Cola demolition - Why BMC didn't force entry in compound
With only a small police force present on the spot, residents were confident that force wouldn’t be used on them.
Civic officials were of the opinion that they do not want a repeat of last year’s situation where force had to be used and the residents gained public sympathy. This time the BMC officials are taking recourse to noting down how residents have been preventing them in an unlawful manner.
Speaking to smd, Deputy Municipal Commissioner Anand Wagralkar said, “We hope the residents vacate the flats as they should know by now that the Supreme Court has rejected all their pleas. We had decided not to use force but we also warned them to let us in on Sunday.”
Deputy Commissioner and spokesperson for Mumbai Police, Mahesh Patil said, “We had adequate number of police personnel available, but BMC officials told us not to use force, hence there was no need to send additional manpower.”