Saturday, Oct 25, 2014

Campa Cola residents stay put, refuse to surrender illegal flats

campa-main Banners put up at the compound in Worli on Saturday. Ganesh Shirsekar
Written by Tanushree Venkatraman | Mumbai | Posted: June 1, 2014 2:56 am | Updated: June 1, 2014 3:03 am

With their hopes pinned on the Supreme Court yet again, the Campa Cola residents seemed relaxed and hopeful on Saturday, which marked the final day for evacuating their illegal flats as per apex court order.

The scene at the compound on Saturday was peaceful, unlike the last evacuation deadline in November 2013, when one witnessed high drama.

Though the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has opened a separate counter at the G-South ward office, where residents can submit keys to their houses, none of the 40 owners of the 96 unauthorised flats vacated their flats Saturday.

With the apex court agreeing to hear the residents’ plea on June 3, the Campa Cola counsel wrote to BMC on Friday, requesting them ‘not to proceed with any action’ till the hearing, next week.

The BMC, on the other hand, has fixed the deadline of June 2 for the residents to submit the keys.

Earlier in May this year, the Supreme Court maintained a November 2013 order, which fixed the deadline of May 31 for Campa Cola residents to vacate their unauthorised houses.

“We were anxious that the civic body might enter the compound with bulldozers again. We are hoping that the apex court will come to our aide this time and help us from being rendered homeless,” said Sandeep Gupta, a resident.

The civic body is, however, firm on not extending the June 2 deadline for the submission of keys.

“It has been three days since the counter, where residents can submit their keys, opened but nobody from the compound has surrendered the keys yet,” said A D Kusale, assistant engineer (maintenance) of G-South ward office.

A huge placard with messages from the residents, urging the civic body to save their homes, were put on display near the Midtown Apartments, one of the seven buildings in the Campa Cola compound.

The residents said they will not leave their houses until BMC finds a solution for them.

“We will build tents and live here in the compound, but not submit keys to our flats. We have no other place to go. The Supreme Court had given the civic body ample time to find a solution in consultation with the residents, but they failed to do their duty,” said Vidya Srinivas, another resident.

S Ughade, assistant municipal commissioner, who is also in-charge of key collection, said, “We will wait till June 2 for the residents to submit their keys, following which we will take legal action if they fail to do so. We will see what happens in the Supreme Court hearing on June 3, but that has got nothing to do with the residents submitting their keys.”

tanushree.venkatraman@expressindia.com

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