B K Gupta of BY Builders one of the three developers involved in construction at Campa Cola compound in Worli has blamed BMC of corruption and malpractice,stating that the irregularities would not have happened without the knowledge of civic officials.
Gupta alleged that BMC officials allowed the construction to later earn huge sums through bribes and penalties. He claimed that the construction of these buildings was as per norms and could be regularised with some penalty.
Claiming that he was not at fault,Gupta said as was the norm 27 years ago,developers would begin construction as per approved plans and go beyond the approved height anticipating that it would later be approved or regularised after payment of penalty. In the case of 20-storey Midtown Apartments and six-storey BY Patel Apartments,the height was raised as per permissible FSI,he said.
I had applied for construction of three buildings. Though one of them was not approved,FSI for that building was used up for the other two buildings,which is permissible and can be regularised later. It is a breach but legally approvable, said Gupta.
Documents obtained under RTI by residents of Campa Cola compound reveal that the three builders paid a penalty of Rs 6.56 lakh to the civic body in December 1986 for regularising the constructions. BMC later demanded Rs 4.64 lakh more as penalty,claiming ready reckoner rates had increased.
Without getting plans approved,Pure Drinks along with builders Yusuf Patel,PSB Construction and BY Builders erected seven buildings with several unauthorised floors. Patel has passed away.
Gupta said between 1988 and 1990,he sent the three letters to BMC after he completed his project of Midtown and BY Patel Apartment,warning the civic administration of violations by other builders. I wrote to BMC repeatedly that some buildings were in violation of FSI and BMC should look into the matter. Why were they sleeping all this time?
Stating that residents of Campa Cola buildings have had to suffer unnecessarily for want of regularisation of only a few floors,Gupta said the residents were aware of the unauthorised floors when they purchased. They had signed a letter and given it to developer (BY Builders) that they will not shift in the new flats as they do not have occupation certificate, said Gupta.
However,residents said they found out about the absence of an occupation certificate and the unauthorised construction only in 1999. The builders kept us in the dark. We have yet not taken any action against these builders but are planning to lodge a police complaint, said Nandini Mehta,member of Campa Cola Residents Association.
Gupta,who applied for closure of his company recently,said it was still under BMCs purview to regularise these structures. BMC has been barbaric as far in its stand to demolish these structures. The Supreme Court verdict is a result of improper representation, said Gupta.
Supreme Courts order,however,does point out inaction of civic officials in allowing illegal buildings. It is a different story that after issuing stop work notice,the authorities of the corporation buckled under pressure from the developers/builders and turned a blind eye to the illegal constructions that came up between 1984 and 1989, the order states.