Residents, who called the swish buildings at this compound home for about 20 years, will soon have to move to makeshift tents in their parking lots, as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s bulldozers flatten their homes. After a 48-hour notice, seven buildings at this upscale compound will be affected and flats above the fifth floor some 140 in all will be demolished.
The Supreme Court (SC) verdict of February 27, 2013, instructed the BMC to pursue the demolition notices issued to all flats above the fifth floor for violating the floor space index (FSI). The buildings also don’t have Occupation Certificates. The area was bustling with activity on Sunday as residents had called tempos to ship out their belongings such as television sets, refrigerators and cupboards.
Hanging by a thread Tearful residents, who had submitted to their fate, were seen vacating their homes and moving to the parking lot. A resident of Orchid building said, “It’s not our fault and we are not going to sit back. We have been living here for 20 years and it is not so easy to just let go. Is the government going to pay us the money we’ve spent on property taxes?”
After the initial shock of the news, two residents suffered heart attacks and were admitted to hospital. Many of these families have senior citizens who are bed-ridden. Worried relatives are planning to build tents to make sure the aged have a roof over their heads. Residents who haven’t been affected by the demolition drive intend to help the others by providing them food and water.
Most residents said they are ready to obey the Supreme Court orders but need some more time to come to terms with the news and think of a survival strategy, as the bolt from the blue has caught most off-guard. A resident of the society Rajesh Verma said, “We are not against the Supreme Court order, but we need some more time to go ahead with this.”