The first day of the BMC’s five-day deadline to collect the keys of 96 illegal flats in the seven buildings at Worli’s Campa Cola compound, saw no response from residents, who continued their fight against the Supreme Court (SC) eviction order.
According to the civic administration, unlike previous attempts wherein the civic body tried to force its way into the compound to demolish the illegal flats, this time, the BMC instead has set up a counter to receive the keys from residents willing to obey the SC order and vacate the flats. Assistant municipal commissioner Sharad Ughade, in-charge of the operation, said, “We have set up a counter in the G-South ward office under whose jurisdiction the Campa Cola plot lies. We have stationed three officials at the counter from ward maintenance department to receive the keys. None of the residents have handed over the keys.”
He added that the counter would remain open till June 2, including Saturday May 31 and Sunday June 1, from 10.30 am to 5.30 pm.
“So far, we have not received orders from senior BMC officials to approach the residents for the keys. If the residents do not follow the intimation letter issued to them on Monday, May 26, we shall opt for legal action as they would be in contempt of court,” Ughade said.
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Karan Sethia, a member of the core committee of the Campa Cola Residents Welfare Association said, “If the government can increase the cut-off for slum regularisation up to 2000, why can’t they increase the datum line for regularising residential buildings? The BMC still refuses to regularise the illegal flats as per the Development Control Regulations of 1991 on the grounds that our buildings were constructed following the 1963 DCR.”
“If the corporation attempted regularisation for us, only 15 flats would have to be demolished. We are ready to demolish those illegal flats ourselves and pay the penalty for regularisation. The residents who are allowed to live in their flats will compensate the residents of the demolished homes,” Sethia added.
Another resident of the compound demanded that the civic body give the residents leeway till the end of the monsoon in October. “Monsoons are approaching, we are asking the government not to put us out on the streets and face Mumbai rains. We need some time to find an alternate place to stay,” the resident said.
Society members also complained that the fear of losing their homes has been adversely affecting the health of senior citizen residents and claimed cases of heart attacks and strokes reportedly caused due to the stress of imminent eviction.
Astav Sacheti (28), of Midtown Apartments said, “My 88-year-old grandmother is suffering from anxiety problems and moving will be difficult for her.”