Making headway into the implementation of the Supreme Court order, municipal employees gained entry into the Campa Cola Compound on Monday morning. As planned, the municipality started cutting supply of utilities to all the illegal flats in the residential complex in Worli.
The civic body formed 12 teams comprising workers from the municipal water supply department, electricity board and gas supply agency. Workers were seen climbing up and down water pipelines in the seven buildings. They disconnected supply to the top five floors which have been constructed illegally.
“The teams will only cut utility supply to more than 90 flats. No demolition process will start today and officials will not enter illegal flats. The contempt of court proceedings may continue as planned,” said assistant municipal commissioner Keshav Ubale.
After putting up a fight for three days, the residents relented on Sunday and decided to let the municipal employees in. The move came after a delegation of residents led by MNS MLA Bala Nandgaonkar met Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.
“Mr Chavan told us to comply with the SC order, so we withdrew our protest. He said he would help us in the struggle,” said resident Ashish Jalan.
Another resident said that the fight would continue from outside. “We are not yet ready to hand over our keys and possession,” he said.
Meanwhile, residents were trying to cope with the situation of living with the essential services. “In our house, they have only cut the electricity. It is difficult to live like this but we have no option. Until we find a solution, we will continue to live here,” said Mushtaq Nawab.
Municipal officials will return on Tuesday to continue with the rest of the work. “We have not completed our work. We will come back to disconnect supply to those flats we haven’t yet reached,” said Mr Ubale.
The residents missed several deadlines to vacate their flats. In November last year when the demolition was about to begin, the Supreme Court ordered a stay and gave them time till May 31. Residents went to court again but this time, the Apex Body dismissed their plea.
On Friday, 17 days after the Supreme Court rejected a petition by the residents against its earlier order asking them to vacate the flats. Officials of the municipal corporation reached the complex along with the police to cut power, water and piped gas supply to the illegal flats. However, each of their attempts to enter the compound was met with resistance from residents who blockaded the entrance. Officials maintained that they would not use force against the residents.