Defiant Campa Cola residents on Friday thwarted attempts by municipal authorities to cut off essential supplies to the illegal flats, blocking their entry into the compound by locking up the gates and forming human barricades.
With the deadline set by authorities for vacating the flats ending on Friday, officials of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai descended on the Campa Cola compound in morning with a large police contingent in tow, only to be greeted with closed gates and women pleading with folded hands, asking them to go away.
High drama was witnessed as MCGM officials argued with implacable residents of the upscale housing society in Worli to let them in amid repeated chants of “we want justice”.
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The authorities, who intended to cut off electricity, water and piped gas supplies to 102 illegal flats in the premises as part of their plan to force the occupants to vacate before demolition could be undertaken, beat a retreat after two failed attempts to convince the residents and said they would try again tomorrow.
Having met with failure, the municipal authorities would try and convince the residents again before thinking of using force to evict them.
“We will try to talk to the residents 2-3 times more and make them understand the importance of the Supreme Court order. If they do not relent, we might use force to carry out the court’s orders,” said Mohan Adtani, Additional Municipal Commissioner.
Adtani said MCGM will also file a contempt petition in the Supreme Court in the next few days.
“We have video-recorded the entire proceedings today. We now have proof in our hands. We are mulling the idea of filing a contempt petition in the Supreme Court in the next couple of days,” he added.
Adtani said that the MCGM will, however, not wait for the court to pass an order before force is used against the residents.
“The police will also file a complaint against the residents under IPC Section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty),” he said.