The apex court has directed the BMC to stick to its old date of evacuating the illegal structures by May 31; civic body will float tenders in a day for the demolition contract
There seems to be little hope for residents of illegal flats of buildings in the Campa Cola compound at Worli. The Supreme Court has refused the residents’ plea to extend the stay order on demolition beyond May 31.
While the BMC is readying itself to bring down the 35 unauthorised floors, residents are clutching at straws, hoping that a change in government will help their cause, with election results due on May 16. File pic
Residents are already fighting a case in the apex court; they claim they have documents which, according to them, show that they have the property rights of their flats and that they should be allowed to reside in their homes. In order to work further on the case, the homeowners had filed a plea with the SC to extend the deadline for the stay order on demolition.
However, the SC has stuck to its old date of May 31, and has directed the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to take action after the deadline is crossed. Residents seem to have little choice but to vacate their homes, seeing that courts are shut from May 9 till May 29.
Meanwhile, the civic body is readying itself to bring down the unauthorised 35 floors across seven buildings in the posh residential complex (see illustration for procedure). The BMC will float tenders for demolition in a day, and the contract is expected to be worth Rs 1-Rs 1.5 crore.
While civic authorities will do the initial hammering, further work will be handed over to a contractor, who will be given a year’s time to destroy the illegal floors. Residents are clutching at straws, hoping that a change in government will help their cause, with election results due on May 16.
Nandini Mehta, a resident, said, “The Modi wave is having a ripple effect across the country, with good governance being his main election plank. We believe Modi can make a difference and look up to him with immense hope.”
Mumbai’s BJP president Ashish Shelar underlined the importance of a human solution. “There definitely is something wrong and the administration has some vested interest. That is why the BMC is unwilling to find a humane legal solution for these residents and is pressing for the demolition of the compound,” Shelar said.
While the civic body is yet to finalise the demolition date, it hopes for a peaceful process. The rains won’t be a saviour for residents. Heeding the orders of the court, the BMC will carry out the demolition in the monsoon.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Mohan Adtani, who is in charge of the demolition, said, “We will be floating the tender in a day or two. We haven’t decided on the demolition day, but we hope that there is peaceful handover of flats to the BMC, so we avoid any law and order situation, as mentioned in the undertaking submitted by the residents to the Supreme Court.”
Adtani added that the BMC would ensure that residents staying on legal floors are unaffected by the demolition. Appointing a contractor for the demolition would take time, and hence, the demolition work during the monsoon would be done by BMC contractors, he said.
However a senior BMC official, on condition of anonymity, revealed, “Plans are yet to be finalised and a meeting on the subject has been planned for next week. We will also look at legal options, if possession of the flats is not given to us as promised in the undertaking. We may book them for contempt of court and also under relevant IPC sections for creating law and order problems.”