It’s been a gruelling year for Campa Cola residents, whose cruel twist of fate will force them to move out of their lavish 1,150 sq-ft apartments to camping in a common tent erected in the compound, as they have no other place to go. If this wasn’t enough, the civic body has ordered them to dismantle their makeshift home in the society premises, calling it an act of encroachment.
The tent where the Campa Cola residents will move to, after vacating their houses. Pic/Emmanual Karbhari
Residents will receive a final notice on Saturday after which the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will begin its demolition drive on Wednesday. Residents claim they will shift only when the civic body forces them out. Until then, they will continue to stay put in their homes.
Currently, the occupants living in the legal sections of the society are funding the expenses for the tent setup, for those who don’t have alternate accommodation. There are a few who still are not ready to give up the fight and are adamant on not vacating.
Most residents have shifted their luggage to their offices, relatives’ places or rented garages. Residents have decided to inhabit a common tent until the BMC forces their evacuation. Basic necessities such as fans and mattresses have been arranged for the residents who will be sleeping in the compound.
The damaged main gate which was broken down by the BMC has been replaced and fixed. Hopeful residents had approached the vacation bench of the apex court last week to request regularisation of their illegal flats, but their plea was dismissed.
Sunanda Verma, a resident from Midtown Apartments, which is one of the seven buildings with unauthorised flats, said, “We have been forced to approach the SC and take the law in our own hands. This is a builders’ nexus, and we are the victims. Adarsh Society, which is illegal too, should be demolished and I will voluntarily leave my house if this happens.”
Vijay Mirani, another resident from Midtown, claims that most of the residents are senior citizens. He said, “My nine-year-old daughter stays with her grandparents, as she cannot bear the pain of losing the home where she was born and brought up. Our savings will be exhausted within three months. How will we survive after that?”
Mahika Gupta, who just passed her SSC exam and is a resident of BY Apartments, added, “I expected to score above 85% but unfortunately scored 70% in my exams. When I went to schools or tuitions, I always thought about the situation at my place. Last time, when the BMC came to demolish our flats, I skipped my school and tuitions, which gravely affected my studies.”
Mohan Adtani, additional municipal commissioner and in-charge of the Campa Cola demolition, said, “The tent erected is illegal and I have asked my officers to check on this. We will take action against the tent erected, for encroachment.”