With the Slum Rehabilitation Authoritys (SRA) High Power Committee (HPC) delaying final verdict on the fate of heritage cottages in Willingdon Colony,Santacruz,residents continue to live in uncertainty. Builder Sumer Associates,after acquiring the colony for redevelopment under SRA scheme in 2009,is waiting for the committee to lift a stay order before demolishing the 25 cottages in the colony.
The delay is also inconveniencing residents as the builder has cordoned off a public road claiming that it falls within the Willingdon Colony premises they purchased.
HPC chairman and principal secretary for housing Debashish Chakrabarty said,The stay order will hold till we review the case again. The builder cannot demolish the cottages till then.
The road that runs between SV Road and Hasnabad Lane in Santacruz was cordoned off in May. In June,the Bombay High Court asked the HPC to settle a dispute between residents and the builder.
The builder has put up barricades on both ends of the road and installed heavy security including surveillance cameras. With the road being blocked off,the gate of St Teresas Convent High School had to be shut. The 90-year-old school is using another gate on SV Road.
A resident of Santacruz,Bharat Bafna,alleged,The builder paid the school for closing down the gate on the public road. Instead the builder constructed a small gate at the rear side of the school that the children have been forced to use since schools reopened in June. There was regular traffic flow on the road before it was blocked.
Data from H West ward (Bandra,Khar,Santacruz) says the road is for public use. A Willingdon Colony resident said,There are eight street lights on the public road that are maintained by BMC. For as long as we lived here,it has always been a public road.
After residents opposed redevelopment saying that the builder had duped them by acquiring the land,a four-year legal battle played out. It came to an end in June when HC instructed SRAs High Power Committee to find an amicable solution.
The HPC heard both sides of the case on August 17.
Residents inconvenienced as builder has cordoned off a public road claiming that it falls within the Willingdon Colony premises they purchased
*Sumer Associates has put up barricades on both ends of the road and installed heavy security including surveillance cameras
*Data from H West ward (Bandra,Khar,Santacruz) says the road is for public use
*SRA panel had heard both sides of the case on August 17