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Occupants of legal flats fear being collateral damage

While the residents of the illegal flats of the seven buildings in Campa Cola Compound, Worli, who are running helter-skelter to save their homes from demolition, the occupants of the legal flats are scampering to vacate the compound.


Residents of Campa Cola Compound protest the demolition of their homes. File pic

These residents believe that they could be collateral damage once the BMC decides to raze the illegal structures, and are desperate to shift base. They feel that once the illegal flats are demolished, water and electricity supply to the legal flats would also be cut. But the legal flat owners are finding it tough to find buyers, as the residential complex has been in the news for all the wrong reasons.

Occupants of the illegal flats had submitted an undertaking in the Supreme Court, assuring it that they would vacate their apartments at the end of the five-month deadline the apex court set on May 2. One of the residents, Ajay Mehta, confirmed the development. “We will respect the five-month deadline, but have decided on a few options that could help us reclaim our homes. At the same time, we are hoping the court will consider our review petition,” Mehta said.

Possible solutions
Talks with civic officials, lawyers and politicians have helped the illegal occupants to narrow down on a couple of feasible options to get the buildings regularised either buy legal flats from the existing owners or use the extra floor space index (FSI) to construct a new building once the illegal structures are demolished. A resident said, “We were informed by the civic officials that about 67,000 sq ft of area occupied by the illegal construction could be regularised. Once the BMC demolishes the illegal structures, we need to submit a proposal to construct a new building.”

A resident of an illegal flat, who wants to purchase a legal one, said, “The buildings don’t even have occupation certificates (OCs). Even those residing in legal flats are extremely jittery about civic body cutting their water and electricity supply. With no takers in the market, we have a good chance of buying the legal flats.” BMC officials said since the plot falls under the coastal regulation zone (CRZ), the number of floors for the new structure, if constructed, would be as per the CRZ norms. 

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