A day after the BMC said it had not received any directions from the Supreme Court (SC) to find an amicable solution for the illegal flats of the Campa Cola compound, residents Thursday presented documents to the media, claiming otherwise.
According to the residents, the BMC’s counsel had agreed to search for a resolution in January, when the Worli housing society’s advocate, Mukul Rohatgi, had written to the Attorney General of India, G E Vahanvati, requesting a meeting with the civic body. The meeting was sought to allow residents to present their case for regularising the illegal flats on the basis of documents, which claimed that the society had, in part, paid a fine of Rs 11.2 lakh to BMC in 1986.
Vahanvati, in his reply, had said BMC cannot accept the claim. He, however, wrote, “…having regard to what transpired in the Supreme Court, if there is any other constructive suggestion to resolve the matter, I will certainly consider it as positively as possible.”
On Monday, the Supreme Court maintained a November 2013 order which fixed the deadline of May 31 for Campa Cola residents to vacate their illegal houses. The residents continued to blame BMC for failing to work out a solution over the past five months. “The letter, written in January by BMC’s counsel, says that they were ready to consider options, but the administration has now taken a u-turn and left us in a quandary again,” resident Nandini Mehta alleged.
Residents also furnished another exchange of letters between the legal counsels of both parties in which BMC’s counsel had made it clear that the residents’ proposal cannot be accepted in the absence of title to the property or ownership of the plot. In response, the Campa Cola residents’ counsel had said that they were already issued a “deemed conveyance” from the Deputy Registrar of Societies, which needs to be stamped on adjudication.
The Bombay High Court, on Wednesday, however, adjourned the petition, seeking a direction to the collector of stamps to determine stamp duty on deemed conveyance beyond vacation. The court also asked status quo to be maintained on the conveyance issue.
Ashish Shelar, BJP Mumbai president, said, “It is evident that the administration doesn’t intend to consider this case on humanitarian grounds. The BMC commissioner is acting in the interest of a builder or developer, which shows why he is being so insensitive.” Shelar added that the six-month extension granted by the SC was indicative of the fact that the apex court wanted the matter to reach an amicable solution.
Residents, meanwhile, are still pinning their hopes on various political parties as well as Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan. “It is impossible for us to find a new house and shift in 25 days. We will approach the CM again and ask for an extension till the monsoons get over, though our priority is to still find a solution with the civic officials,” Mehta said.