After receiving no help from the civic body or the state government,residents of Campa Cola compund met Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on Monday,who urged Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to prevent the demolition of 35 illegal floors. On Monday,four residents,including two senior citizens,went on a hunger strike in an attempt to draw the attention of the policymakers. The residents,however,have not been able to supersede the Supreme Courts order to demolish all the floors above the fifth on November 11.
One of the residents,who met Gandhi in New Delhi,said,After listening to our plea,Gandhi contacted Chavan and asked him to find ways to save our homes. He discussed the possibility of regularising the illegal floors.
The residents had appealed to the state administration for help in the past three weeks by organising various events,including human chains at Marine Drive and Worli Seaface. Since the court ruling,the residents have exercised all legal options to regularise the illegal floors,provided they fall within the FSI limits. The BMC is set to demolish 92 houses in seven buildings. Almost 80 per cent of the houses,that are to be demolished,will be spared if regularisation takes place, said Ashish Jalan,a resident.
The residents on hunger strike are camped at the garden inside the compound. One of those on strike,Vinaychand Hirawath (67),said,We will be on strike till we get help from the chief minister. Even my grandchildren have joined me in the hunger strike.
Another resident,Ajay Mehta,said,We have been appealing to the state administration for long,but to no avail. Middle-class citizens like us do not get help from the state because we do not form a large vote bank like the poor. We have been ignored and left to suffer.
The civic standing committee will review fresh demolition tenders on Wednesday. The BMC has re-issued fresh tenders for demolition of the illegal floors after the previous tender applications failed to get the committees approval on October 25. The corporators had unanimously opposed the civic bodys decision to carry out the demolition and argued that the administration must push for regularisation.
The Federation of Apartment Owners Association,based in Delhi,has extended support to the residents. These people have been cheated by the builders and then let down by the civic body. We will meet BMC officials on Wednesday and try to find a solution, said Raman Sharma,association chief.