Flat owners suffer due to Civil Aviation and BMC’s apathy

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Residents of Vile Parle, Santacruz and Ghatkopar are unhappy with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) order asking 70 buildings to reduce their height in these localities within 60 days. Since many people residing these areas have already invested their hard earned income for buying flats they are worried about their future. Those who have received notice also include senior citizens who might find it difficult to relocate to other areas due to old age. Residents said that their flats have been built 30 to 40 years ago and they possess all the required documents to prove their ownership. The Civil Aviation authorities have cleared the height of these buildings. Resident allege that there is a nexus between Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Civil Aviation authorities which is responsible for such irregularities in clearing buildings constructed in Vile Parle and Santacruz.

When AV spoke to RTI activist Anil Galgali he said, “These buildings have not come up overnight and they have been in existence since last 25 to 30 years. Why nobody raised this issue earlier? A thorough probe must be ordered into this matter and action must be taken against DGCA officials if they are found guilty. Builders have also cheated people by selling the flats and violating norms and government must take action against them too.”

“Why is the hapless resident who has paid his hard earned money for the flat and even taken loans (some may even be paying their EMI ) be targeted for the officers in Civil Aviation and BMC not executing their duties? What action will be taken against these officers? Even today new buildings are being constructed by flouting the rules,” said Krishna Hegde, former Congress MLA.

“We have been residing in Vile Parle since last 30 years but nobody raised any objections against our building then. How come the DGCA has raised this issue now what they were doing earlier? Now it will be difficult for us to find alternate accommodation,” said a resident of Vile Parle on the condition of anonymity.

“We have brought out flat from our life time savings. How can DGCA ask resident to demolish the height of their buildings within 60 days? Who will bear the financial losses incurred during demolition? Why had officials turned a blind eye towards this issue? We will file a petition with the Bombay High Court asking for a stay on demolition order,” Ashish Mehta a Vile Parle resident.

The old buildings have been ordered to reduce height by anywhere between 1 and 6 metres, the newer and taller ones by a lot more. A bench of justice VM Kanade and justice MS Sonak also said in case the DGCA fails to comply with the court’s order, the city collector must take the help of agencies concerned such as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) and complete the demolition work.