Three months after they vacated their illegal flats, residents of Campa Cola society have now started moving back into their empty houses. Residents had been forced to vacate the flats after the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had initiated demolition proceedings.
Shweta Hirawat and her family moved back into their home after shelling out R50,000 a month as rent in another flat in the same compound. Pics/Shadab Khan
The civic body had disconnected gas, water and electricity supplies. Most people had shifted to homes of relatives and friends, or had taken a flat on rent somewhere else. Now with their return, they are somehow managing to sustain themselves.
The residents had filed a plea in the Supreme Court (SC), asking for details of the case and why the BMC was not finding a solution to the problem, even when the SC had asked them to arrive at a solution.
The civic body has maintained that there is no amicable solution to the issue. The civic body had then been given two weeks by SC to file its reply. In a subsequent hearing on September 1, the civic body requested the apex court to give it four more weeks for the procedure.
Slowly, as the deadline for the BMC to submit its answers approaches, residents started coming back to their homes.
Shweta Hirawat, an affected resident, said, “We shifted to the third floor of Shubh Apartments in the same compound. I was shelling out Rs 50,000 per month in rent. So we have moved back into our house.”
Homeowners have managed to procure gas cylinders to cook for themselves. Drinking water is purchased from the nearby slums for Rs 300 a month or so, entitling them to a pot of water every day. For bathing and cleaning, they are utilising the society washrooms.
At night, since there is no power supply, residents manage with emergency lights and torches. Windows are kept open for ventilation, but mosquitoes and rats enter the house, making life hell for residents. “We are managing to stay without basic utilities, but rats and mosquitoes have made it more difficult,” Hirawat added.
People are using mosquito repellants to ward off the insects and traps to catch the rodents. Mushtak Nawab, another resident, said, “At night, I use emergency light that my daughter brought for me from Dubai. It works for more than 12 hours.”
Campa Cola: BMC completes phase 1 demolition
Harshita Motiani, another resident, added, “We had rented a flat near Worli Sea Face for a month. As we arranged for emergency lights, gas cylinders and water from the society, we shifted back to our own house, since it is not easy to buy a new house or stay on rent for long periods.” The next hearing in the case is scheduled in October.
140: Approximate number of families that had to evacuate their homes after the BMC initiated demolition proceedings
June 23: The day BMC officials cut off the electricity, water and piped gas connections of the illegal flats in the complex
96: Number of flats in the compound that have been deemed illegal