Penalise builders, not residents

On Saturday, this paper ran an extensive piece on how Campa Cola Compound residents in Worli were on tenterhooks, as the BMC had given them notice about demolishing their homes in the upscale area. Seven buildings in the compound are affected and the floors above the fifth floor of each are to be razed. The demolition is to begin today morning.

While residents claimed that there was a constant cat and mouse game by three developers of the plot, whenever they asked about Occupation Certificates (OCs) and they were kept in the dark about several notices received by the builders during construction, they also claim that they are ready to pay any penalty within the ambit of the law.

What one needs to ask the civic authorities is that residents have been paying their taxes for 25 years. Why was this money accepted if these were illegal? Above that, two-thirds of the area targeted for demolition can be regularised with a penalty. The residents cited a BMC document dating back to 1989, which said that 67,000 sq feet of the total 91,000 sq ft could be saved from demolition.

In a city where even slums are regularised, it is surprising that these homes have not been given an opportunity for regularisation.

In the larger picture, this issue is a wake up call for people in this city. Buyers have to be very careful about builders who are selling them homes and never take their promises of obtaining timely approvals at face value. Having said that, it is wrong to hold these residents guilty about something they have paid for in full 25 years ago. Penalise the builders who have put up their hands, wherever they may be. 

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