70 Campa Cola housemaids to join employers on footpaths

With the residents of buildings at Campa Cola compound in Worli in dire straits after the Bombay High Court yesterday refused to grant any relief to them other than a 2-day extension, housemaids who work at the flats have decided to follow their employers to the streets if evicted on Thursday. Nearly 70 domestic helps working at the flats have decided to reside with the flat owners on the footpaths after the flats are demolished.

With most of them bound to be jobless and homeless, housemaids working at the flats join in the protest against the impending demolition at Campa Cola compound yesterday. Pics/Datta Kumbhar

The maidservants say their employers have treated them like family, and they have therefore vowed to stay with them through thick and thin. Nurjah Sheikh, a 45-year-old maid working at one of the flats, said, “I have been working here since 25 years. My father used to also work here as a security guard, and I have spent my entire childhood here. It is not possible for us to work anywhere else. The residents are like parents to us, trusting us like their own kin.”

Some of them were in tears, contemplating the dark future that lay ahead of them. “It’s hard to find a new job now. Moreover, it's difficult to win the trust of new employers. This is our only source of livelihood,” said Sheikh. Mengala Bansode, who works as a nurse at Dr Maya Lala's clinic in the vicinity, said, “I have tended to several patients over the years that have been residing at the compound. I am designated to look after the bedridden patients too. It would be very cumbersome for these patients to shift elsewhere.”

There are several residents residing in the compound who are unable to relocate as they are suffering from certain ailments. Dhruv Jain, a 15-year-old boy has microcephaly (smaller head), which makes it difficult for him to move. In such a precarious state, his family is worried of the consequences of the shifting.

Another 90-year-old resident, Asha Atmaram Andhyal, a physiotherapist who worked at the Bombay Hospital for 50 years and is now unable to walk and respond to questions, also resides in this compound. She is constantly murmuring to herself, praying to God asking the Almighty to take her away, rather than put her through this hell.

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