Campa Cola residents wage do-or-die battle as BMC begins eviction
Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava
Mumbai: Hundreds of residents of the Campa Cola Compound residential society in South Mumbai`s posh Worli area are waging a do-or-die battle as the civic authorities began the process of demolishing their illegal apartments on Tuesday.
According to reports, Campa Cola society residents have stopped the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials from entering into the compound to demolish their unauthorised flats.
The residents have locked the main entrance gate of the compound and denied entrance to the BMC officials. Several politicians have also joined hundreds of agitating residents, who are making their last-ditch effort in preventing the BMC from pulling down their illegal apartments.
The BMC action comes as the Supreme Court deadline for residents to vacate their illegal flats ended today.
Hundreds of residents of the Campa Cola Colony, who have waged a relentless battle to save their homes for months, have gathered in the campus with an aim to prevent the BMC authorities in bringing bulldozers for demolishing their illegal flats.
The residents of nearly 140 families, who have in past staged several protests and even approached higher authorities, including the Chief Minister for help, had earlier refused to move out. They had been pinning their hopes on Chief Minister Pthiviraj Chavan’s decision to prevent demolition but he too ruled out any such possibilities in a meeting on Sunday.
The residents have formed a human chain to stop civic officials from entering their complex. There is heavy deployment of police in the area.
Seven highrises were constructed at the Campa Cola Compound between 1981 and 1989. The builders had permission for only six floors, but constructed way too many. One of the buildings, Midtown, has 20 floors. Another building, Orchid, has 17.
Mumbai`s civic body Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) decided to bring down the 35 illegal floors in the seven highrises after the Supreme Court refused to regularise them.
The BMC had made elaborate preparations to carry out demolition. The Bruihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) officials on Monday issued notices to the buildings informing residents that action will be initiated as per the Supreme Court orders and electricity supply has been disconnected since this morning.
The Supreme Court in its verdict had ordered BMC that 96 flats (above five floors) across seven buildings in the compound must be demolished after the deadline to vacate the flats ends on November 11.
These flats were built by the builders without the permission of the civic body and hence declared illegal.
Civic officials had told reporters that the internal walls of the illegal flats will be broken to make the homes uninhabitable.
BMC has deployed around 150 employees in the demolition process. The teams will include officials from ward offices, headed by three assistant municipal commissioners.
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