Sensing weaker resistance from the residents of illegal flats in Campa Cola compound to follow the Supreme Court’s order of immediately vacating the Worli premises, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will give the 89 flat owners three more days to surrender the keys of their illegal flats.
If the residents continue to resist, the civic body will file a contempt petition in the SC. The corporation took the decision following the SC’s dismissal of a fresh plea filed by the residents on Tuesday.
“We wish the residents now realise that they have lost the case from all angles and peacefully begin to vacate the premises on their own. Based on media reports, some feelers are there that the residents are moving out their belongings. We will observe them. Instead of direct confrontation, we will give them another 72 hours to hand over the keys to the illegal flats,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Mohan Adtani.
Quoting the latest SC order of June 3, the civic body will issue notices to the residents over the weekend, similar to the letters of intimation issued on May 26. The previous letters were based on the SC order of November 19, 2013, which set May 31 as the deadline for eviction and June 1 as the staring date for demolition. On May 26, the BMC gave the residents a week to surrender the flat keys at the G-South ward office where a special counter was set up for the purpose.
The corporation has said if the residents refuse to hand over keys this time, they would enter the compound and start severing electricity and gas connections. Notices under Section 488 of the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act 1888, which allows the administration to enter premises and take necessary action, will be issued to the illegal occupants.
“If they give the keys…we will quickly begin the demolition. However, if they continue to resist…we will issue notices under Section 488 of the MMC Act on Thursday next week,” said Adtani. He added that the BMC would also contact the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST), Mahanagar Gas and the Mumbai Police to prepare itself for the demolition process. The time-frame before entering the premises will be fixed in coordination with these agencies so that the administration has adequate forces.
“We will start talking to them at the earliest. If on the given date, when we arrive at the compound, the residents continue to resist the BMC’s action, we will immediately file a contempt petition in the court,” Adtani said, adding: “We are carrying out all these steps to prove it on paper that they have resisted BMC’s action. We cannot simply go to the compound and try to force our way in.”
“We wish to carry out the demolition peacefully, and this is only possible if the residents give us possession of the flats,” said Adtani. The civic administration said residents leaving the premises peacefully would not be named in the contempt petition. “The contempt petition will not be against the entire association but against specific residents who resist us. If the realisation is there and people are willing to move, we would like to solve the matter amicably,” said the additional municipal commissioner.