Thanks to the Supreme Court which stayed the demolition of unauthorised flats in the Campa Cola compound, Mumbai, the residents are visibly relieved (Nov. 14). It looks like only courts are running the country.
But it is not possible for citizens to approach courts on every issue. Governments should take appropriate steps to check building violations before it is too late. This way, people can be spared distress and uncertainty in later years. Builders should be asked to put up their project and building approvals on their website. This will not only avoid confusion but also minimise the number of cases and RTI applications.
There are many unauthorised buildings in Mumbai. Politicians acquire government plots and flats to run non-profit organisations for the poor. But, in reality, they run commercial activities from the premises. This is well-known.
Many developers sell an unauthorised flat to more than one buyer. Even after courts declare a construction unauthorised, the municipality does not demolish buildings. It argues that the flat residents have registered a case of cheating against the builder. What does the municipality have to do with disputes between the builder and the buyer? The need of the hour is transparency.
Jagdip H. Vaishnav,
I thank The Hindu for highlighting the fact that vested interests want the residents of the compound to vacate the building so that a five-star hotel can be constructed. These allegations have not been published in the local media, which is surprising. The root cause of the problem in the Campa Cola compound and other places is the nexus between builders and municipal authorities, which is difficult to break. Guidelines are needed on whether the authorities can collect taxes on illegal constructions, and whether taxes thus collected will be refunded.
Deendayal M. Lulla,
Recently, hundreds of slum-dwellers living on government land for over a decade were evicted on court orders in Bangalore to facilitate the construction of a mall by a private builder. Nobody came to their rescue. They were left to their fate. Children studying in schools were stranded on the streets. I cannot but compare this with the Campa Cola compound episode.
Similar is the case with bank loans. Ordinary citizens face the full force of law when they fail to repay their loans. But corporate borrowers who cheat to the tune of thousands of crores are treated with kid- gloves. We still live in a feudal system, despite the talk of welfare state, equality, etc.
The protest against the demolition of illegal floors in the Campa Cola compound is unacceptable. On the one hand, people want corruption to end and, on the other, they protest against legal decisions. Civic bodies must look within. There is something beyond protests.
Keywords: Campa Cola