The civic officials faced a wall of protest by housemaids employed at the Campa Cola flats. Civic assistant engineers were not let in for inspection initially. The dumpers and JCBs were parked outside the buildings for the better part of the day. The BMC squad was not to demolish until the SC’s order expected to come out after 2 pm.
Work at the four wards of the BMC, mainly the areas from Byculla to Dadar, was affected due to the activity, as their machinery and manpower was deployed for the demolition. A team of a deputy municipal commissioner (DMC), four assistant commissioners, 25 engineers and 100 labourers, along with four dumpers, two JCBs and an ambulance, was deployed at the compound. A bandobast of nearly 80 policemen was made to provide protection to the BMC squad, as per the corporation’s request.
DMC Vasant Prabhu (Zone I) said, “We were at a loss at the end of the day, as we had made all the preparations and pulled additional force from other wards. Had the demolition taken place, we could have collected fine from the residents, but no such thing happened. It was kind of a waste of resources.”
Khairnar backs ‘lawful’ residents
GR Khairnar, a former BMC deputy commissioner, came to support residents who have “regularly paid property taxes”. Khairnar expressed solidarity with the protesting residents, and lambasted the state government and the BMC for not considering their pleas for regularising the structures.
“These are law-abiding and tax-paying people. These are not goons. In the past there have been instances when the governing bodies has safeguarded goons. In this case, they are troubling civilians,” the former head of BMC’s anti-encroachment department said. Extending support to the locals, Khairnar said he would use his experience to help the compound locals in every possible way. “I am studying their case. I will support them in whatever way possible,” he said.