Finally, there seems to be some ray of light at the end of the tunnel for the residents of Campa Cola compound, who have been fighting a battle to save their homes. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Improvement Committee has decided that they will support an ordinance from the Chief Minister of Maharashtra that will regularise the Campa Cola Compound. This was mooted on the suggestion of Aaditya Thackeray of the Shiv Sena, and was discussed in the BMC on Saturday evening. They will now send their view to the municipal commissioner. Currently, 35 floors of the seven buildings are unauthorised and the BMC has given the residents a deadline of November 11 to vacate the premises, to demolish the buildings.
On Monday, some residents of the Campa Cola compound met Chief Minister of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan, who assured them that he will seek legal advice from the state advocate general. But this is not the first time that the residents of the ill-fated buildings have approached the government for support. In 2010, architect Jayant Tipnis met the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Ashok Chavan, on behalf of the residents, and requested him to regularise the buildings. Chavan had rejected the proposal after seeking legal advice on the matter.
The Supreme Court order mentions the same in point 20, stating ‘Jayant Tipnis, an architect of the Campa Cola buildings, has appealed to the chief minister that he should direct to the BMC to reconsider the proposal under Development Control regulations and regularise the FSI consumed in constructing the buildings by charging premium. The Chief Minister of the state, who was also in charge of the department of Urban Development, dismissed the appeal vide order dated 4-6-2010.’
When contacted, Tipnis confirmed the same to SUNDAY MiD DAY. “Yes, I had met Ashok Chavan and requested him to regularise unauthorised floors but he refused. He sought legal opinion and then decided not to regularise the buildings.” Tipnis is not very confident about the current proposal either. “I don’t think it will be considered, since one CM has already rejected it,”he said.
Law department alerts BMC committee
Meanwhile, the legal department officials of the BMC have advised the Improvement Committee that it would be contempt of court if the committee passes the resolution of demanding regularisation of the Campa Cola buildings. The SC order (point 47) on demolition of the illegal floors on February 27 states, ‘We also directed that the state government and its functionaries officers as also the officers, employees of the corporation shall not put any hurdle or obstacle in the implement of the notice issued under section 351 of the 1888 Act.’ “If this is the case, then the Improvements Committee should not demand regularisation of the illegal floors of Campa Cola,” said an official from the BMC legal department.