The man who would be Rs 2.3-crore richer from the annihilationof the unauthorised floors of the Campa Cola society claims he would be more than glad if — through a change of heart or law -- the demolition is called off.
Vipin S Jain, managing director of Landmark Corporation, has been short-listed by the BMC to carry out the demolition of 96 flats in the controversial set of buildings located in Worli.
When MiD DAY asked him about his firm being picked out for the work, he said, “If my contract gets cancelled because of regularisation of Campa Cola compound buildings, I would be the happiest,” said Jain.
The BMC invited bids for demolition of the illegal floors of Campa Cola society -- the estimated cost of which is Rs 1.88 crore -- for which Landmark quoted the lowest price of Rs 2.11 crore. With taxes, the cost goes up to Rs 2.3 crore.
The civic tender committee finalised Landmark as contractor. The official proposal will be tabled before the public works committee on Friday.
“When the tenders were invited, I wasn’t aware what Campa Cola society is. But later I heard of it and went there, through a mediator, to meet some residents. Slowly I got involved with the whole thing and now they are like my family,” said Jain.
Landmark has demolished 4-5 buildings in the past but only because they were undergoing redevelopment; none of them were illegal. “I feel the pain of the residents, I strongly feel for them. The issue should be looked at from a human angle, instead from the point of view of rules and regulations. If illegal slums can be regularised, why can’t these floors? The law should be the same for all, without discrimination,” he said.
He believes that residents aren’t completely at fault because when someone buys a house they don’t go out of the way to check the documents related to the entire building.
“Whenever a person buys a house, he never sees all the documents. What these residents are facing can happen to anybody. After all, these are Indians, not some foreign nationals, and hence the authority should consider their feelings. Even I didn’t go through all the documents while buying my house.”
The residents of Campa Cola have approached the chief minister for regularisation of the floors. “I have full faith in the chief minister and I am sure he will find an amicable solution to the problem. Also, I would expect other prominent leaders to come forward to support the residents,” said Jain.
>> The BMC short-listed Landmark Corporation Pvt Ltd as a contractor for demolishing the 35 illegal floors at Campa Cola society in Worli
>> The contract is worth Rs 2.3 crore
>> The contractor has to demolish 96 flats in the five-month period starting November 11
BMC contractor’s task not a breeze
It isn’t like the BMC has an easy job to do. The process won’t be one of mindless smash-and-blast-and-cart-the-debris-out-for-sale. The civic authority will have to take care that the residents living on the first five, legal floors get uninterrupted services like water and power, and bear no damage to their houses. For carrying out the process safely and accurately, the BMC will have to involve many utility service providers. The plan is to begin by breaking the internal walls. The contractor’s orders are to mind the floors below and make sure their utilities are not interrupted. For this, he would have to set up a water tanker on what is presently the sixth floor and ensure other elementary supplies such as electricity and piped gas. The BMC would not be involved in creating a structural terrace for the residents who would continue to stay at Campa Cola.