MUMBAI: The civic body has resolved to commence the demolition of the illegal flats in Campa Cola compound after May 31 irrespective of the monsoon. Still, the society residents are clutching at straws, hoping to exhaust all legal options before that day arrives.
The Supreme Court on 19th November permitted the BMC to raze the unauthorised apartments in the Worli complex after the expiry of the May 2014 deadline. The court asked their residents to give undertakings within six weeks that they would voluntarily vacate the flats by the cut-off date. According to a high-ranking civic official, the corporation will start breaking on January 1 the illegal flats of the owners who fail to furnish an undertaking. The remaining unauthorized flats will be flattened beginning June 1.
The BMC official said the restrictions on demolitions during the monsoon are not applicable in the Campa Cola case—as the residents had hoped—since the action is based on an SC order. “Monsoon or no monsoon, the BMC will ensure that all illegal flats are demolished starting June 1,” he said.
With the apex court delivering its verdict, pressure is mounting on chief minister Prithviraj Chavan to promulgate an ordinance to protect the illegal flats. “Some union ministers and leading politicians have urged Chavan to take a fresh view of the whole episode,” said a Congress minister. But the CM unequivocally ruled out an ordinance to NCP leaders.
On Wednesday, when Campa Cola residents approached Chavan in the company of state housing minister Sachin Ahir, they received no assurances. Later in the evening, society members got together to discuss the latest SC order. Committee member Yogesh Doshi said, “We will definitely go to court. Among other things, we will explain that the complex’s legal residents will bear the brunt of the demolition. How can you break the top 12-15 floors of a building without harming the five legal floors below?”
Members were non-committal about filing a curative petition in the SC. They debated whether to submit an undertaking within six weeks. One resident said they would consult their legal counsel, another said they have no choice but to sign the pledge lest their homes be demolished in January. “The SC order empowers the BMC to take action if we fail to sign. Moreover, what is the harm in buying time?” he said.