Festival of lights without electricity for Campa Cola's illegal residents

Occupants of the illegal flats say the only sources of light are power generators and emergency lights, after the BMC disconnected power supply to their homes

Life comes full circle, and the residents of illegal flats in the Campa Cola compound have learned it the hard way.

An elderly couple sits beside an emergency light. Residents of many of the flats deemed illegal in Campa Cola compound are celebrating a Black Diwali
An elderly couple sits beside an emergency light. Residents of many of the flats deemed illegal in Campa Cola compound are celebrating a Black Diwali

Unlike last year, when these residents had voluntarily boycotted the festival of lights, this year they are forced to celebrate a Black Diwali as the BMC has disconnected electricity to the illegal flats after the occupants refused to vacate them despite the Supreme Court’s directives.

After the BMC discontinued power supply to their homes. Pics/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
After the BMC discontinued power supply to their homes. Pics/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

When this correspondent visited the premises recently, she discovered that residents of the flats to which electricity had been disconnected were using power generators and emergency lights at night.

Resident speak
Vidya Srinivas, a resident of Midtown Apartments, said, “This year, our Diwali will be celebrated using emergency lights. Last year, we didn’t celebrate the festival to protest against the demolition of our homes. Since we live on the top floor, we don’t feel the heat much, as cool breeze flows throughout the house.

But those residing on the lower floors face a lot of difficulty when the temperature soars during the day. Our biggest problem is non-availability of regular power supply at night.”

Sarojini Sharma, a resident of Shah Apartments, added, “We have kept our Diwali celebrations very simple. We only light diyas. At night, we use a generator that is charged from outside. We ensure that its usage is minimal.”

Official speak
A BMC officer from the G/South ward office said, “Since the residents are yet to hand over the flats, the possession remains with them. So, they can use power generators.”

140
Approximate number of families that had to evacuate their homes after the BMC initiated demolition proceedings

96
Number of flats in the compound that have been deemed illegal

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