Armed with Monday’s Supreme Court order, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has now expedited the process of clearing a tender to begin demolitions on the 96 illegal flats spread across seven buildings of the Campa Cola compound in Worli.
The civic body has extended the time period for demolishing the 35 illegal floors from six months to one year and has roped in experts to carry out a scientific, phased demolition which will protect other legal portions of the buildings from damage or inconvenience.
“We will now issue a tender for approval by the standing committee in the next few days. Whatever objections the committee previously had with the tender have now been rectified. So, there shouldn’t be any technical problems in acquiring approvals,” said additional municipal commissioner Mohan Adtani in-charge of the island city.
“It will take about two months to issue the work order. In the interim, we are still planning how to go about demolitions from May 31 onwards. It was initially planned that our own workers will first dismantle electricity and water supply rendering the flats unlivable, but this will be finalised over the next 26 days,” Adtani said.
In its order dated May 5, the apex court ruled that residents of the illegal flats would have to vacate their homes by the deadline of May 31 without any further extension. In May and November 2013, the SC had ruled in favour of the residents and extended the deadline twice by five and six months respectively, allowing the residents to approach the BMC and the state government for a resolution. This is despite a previous SC order of February 2013, which had asked residents to vacate the illegal structures immediately and disallowed government bodies from interfering with the case any further.
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Citing their opposition to the demolition as the main reason, the standing committee rejected a Rs 2.11-crore tender proposal in October 2013. During deliberations, the committee also pointed out irregularities in the tender proposal such as the use of 2009 schedule of rates while arriving at the cost estimate instead of using the latest unified schedule published in 2013.
“We have now updated this without affecting the cost much. The contractors appointed will carry out the demolition process in a scientific and strategic manner so that remaining legal portions of the building remain unaffected,” Adtani said.
Seven high-rise buildings – Midtown Apartments, Esha Ekta Apartments, Shubh Apartments, Patel Apartments (two buildings), B Y Apartments and Orchid Apartments – were constructed at the compound between 1981 and 1989. While the BMC had granted permission for constructing ground-plus-five floors, Midtown has 20 floors, Orchid has 17, Esha Ekta has eight, Shubh has seven and B Y and Patel have six floors each.
As per the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888, the civic body will recover the costs for demolition from the illegal inhabitants. While previously the civic administration had set a timeline of six months for the contractors to complete the work, the Corporation has now extended this period to one year.