Eviction fears have crept into the south Mumbai neighbourhood of Campa Cola Compound once again after the State of Maharashtra failed to submit an alternative plan before the Supreme Court on Tuesday to rehabilitate residents of illegal flats. The eviction deadline remains May 31 next.
On November 13, the court ordered stay on the demolition of illegal flats in the residential complex when Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati said the Mumbai Municipality would work on a plan allowing construction of a new building on a plot inside the compound in exchange for the flats that would be pulled down.
However, on Tuesday, the municipality told the court it had no such option. The residents will now submit an affidavit saying they would vacate their homes by May 31 next. “We don't know what to do now. We will see how to proceed from here,” said Ashish Jalan, head of Concept PR, who has a flat in one of the buildings.
Forty-five-year-old resident Sarita Malhotra said: “Our trauma has been prolonged. It’s going to be a repeat of the gruelling ride we have had so far. The government didn’t do anything to help us on humanitarian grounds.”
BJP spokesperson Shaina N.C., who has been supporting the residents, said she was shocked. “There should be parity of law and no other building with illegalities should be spared now. Residents were made scapegoats by builders. The CM could have used his discretionary powers.”
Sources in the civic body said it was difficult to regularise the illegalities given the large-scale violations of the Development Control Rules. Moreover, an adjoining plot was on CRZ land and in an industrial zone.