Campa Cola residents get another 40 days to clear out

The illegal top floors of seven buildings at Worli’s Campa Cola compound that were to face demolition on October 3 now have time till November 11. Earlier, the Supreme Court had given the residents five months ending on Wednesday to vacate the premises. This extension has given the residents more time to gather their belongings and make arrangements for the shift.

The Campa Cola buildings were issued a stop-work notice by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, after it came to light that the builder flouted norms and constructed extra floors illegally during 1981-89.

Picking up the pieces: Residents of Campa Cola gather their belongings and prepare to vacate the building. Pics/sayed Sameer Abedi

While the permission given was only for five floors, about 35 additional floors housing 92 flats were erected illegally. From the seven buildings, two are of 17 and 20 floors, three have six floors and the remaining two buildings have seven.

The Supreme Court had ordered demolition of the illegal floors on February 27 and prohibited residents from approaching any government or political body for regularising the structures. The SC, however, relented and passed a stay order on May 2, giving residents five months time to vacate.

The High Court on September 26 dismissed a writ petition by the residents, seeking the regularisation of 35 illegal floors. But after much pleading with the SC to allow them to approach the BMC for getting hold of the retainable area, the SC put off the demolition for November 11.

The residents are traumatised with the decision and are finding it hard to make a move. They are still in the process of packing up. About 30 per cent have already moved out, choosing to stay away from the ordeal.

Nandini Mehta, a building occupant, said, “We will still try to do what we can but the court order will make the final decision. We will stay on here till November 11 as we do not want to face contempt of court. I have already started packing and would not unpack as the demolition has only been postponed, not cancelled.”

Another resident, Pradeep K, said, “It is traumatising for me and my family to see our houses razed. This 40-day extension has given us a chance to gather more memories. My daughters were born here; my elder daughter even got married here. Now, we have to go away, just like that. Forget buying, it is difficult even to rent a house in this city, but we will have to look for alternative accommodation.”

Mohan Adtani, additional municipal commissioner, said, “The eviction notices issued will not hold now. The procedure to appoint contractors for demolition remains the same and we haven’t invited tenders for the same again.” 

Number of illegal floors in the 7 buildings at Campa Cola compound facing demolition on November 11

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