With demolition fears looming large over the Campa Cola housing complex in Worli, residents on Thursday said that they would do whatever it takes to keep the battle going.
“We do not want our homes to be demolished. We will do whatever it takes,” said Nandini Mehta, resident of the upscale residential complex in south Mumbai. “The Chief Minister had assured us he would help us resolve the matter. We will meet him again and ask him to give us an extension until after the monsoon to find an amicable solution with the municipality,” she added.
The battle between Campa Cola residents and the municipality has been a long-drawn one. The upscale residential complex was built in the 1980s. According to the municipality, the builders had obtained permission for constructing only five floors. However, 35 floors were added illegally. The municipality served demolition notices in 2005 which the residents challenged in court. The matter reached the Supreme Court which ordered that the illegal flats be vacated by November 11.
On November 12, when the municipality and police staff reached the compound, residents blocked their entry. The following day, the civic staff managed to demolish the gate of the compound just before the Supreme Court ordered a stay until the next hearing.
On 19 November, the Supreme Court ordered them to vacate the 96 illegal flats in the seven buildings by May 31, 2014. It had asked the residents of those flats to give an undertaking to the effect.
Residents had sent an alternative proposal of possibilities to resolve the matter to the civic body. At its standing committee on Wednesday, the civic body maintained that the Supreme Court had not directed the BMC to find a middle path in connection with the row.
On Thursday, Mumbai’s BJP President Ashish Shelar said that the statement was not correct. “The municipality has been in constant touch with the residents who have been trying to find a middle path. Municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte has not even considered their proposal. It looks like he is doing it at the behest of some builder of developer,” said Mr. Shelar.