“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends,” states a quote of Martin Luther King Jr on the wall of Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society’s office. The society, which faces demolition of the building, insists it still receives letters from prospective buyers. And the Supreme Court is where they seek both solace and justice.
The quote is pasted on the wall by retired Brigadier T K Sinha, chairman of the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society, who is positive on moving Supreme Court against the demolition order of the Bombay High Court. He points at the deliberation of 2002 where Urban Development Department and Ministry of Environment and Forests had communicated on the clearances. Thereafter, he says, the society got environmental clearance and Rs 16 crore was paid to the government as it is government land.
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In 2010, the commencement as well as completion certificate were given in four stages followed by the Occupation Certificate in September, 2010. “Even the MMRDA, in an affidavit, brought on record that everything is legal,” he insists.
The membership was according to the government resolution of 1999, where it has insisted upon reservation for 20% reservation for SC/ST. In addition, membership was given to Army and Navy officials and the rest was for the general category. “All 103 names for membership were cleared by the state government. The 25-odd names of people with political background is pending with the government. And how is it possible to have a threat from only this residential building whereas there are several residential highrises in the vicinity,” asserts Sinha.
R C Thakur, the society’s chief promoter, says the society still received applications from buyers until last week. “We decided to give occupancy to only Army officials,” he says.
The judgment came as a shock, but its stay for 12 weeks is a big respite. According to Thakur, the flats that were given to politicians were all approved by the state government. “If the government wants to throw them, they can. However, the common man should not suffer. The occupants belonging to Navy, Army and SC/ST should be protected,” says Thakur. The management also informed that Suresh Prabhu is still a member. An inactive member though. The issue of membership of 25 members who have political affiliations is before the collector.
“Even the MMRDA has on record said that every inch of Adarsh is legal. Who could question them. They hold legal statute. Even the Adani Port and Lavasa were without environmental clearance but those were regularised by them having paid a nominal penalty after environmental damage was quantified. Here, there is no question of any environmental damage,” says Thakur.
If a bureaucrat has committed an error, the management stresses, why should the entire building suffer. “Even in the case of Campa Cola, where illegality has been established, the demolition was stayed by the Supreme Court. Then why us?” he asks.
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