The Supreme Court verdict has refused to grant further extension of deadline for the residents of Campa Cola society as they will have to vacate the building. Five months back the apex court had provided some relief to the residents by staying the demolition of unauthorized flats in the building till May 31, 2014. The residents of the building are fighting a lone battle to save their flats. Even though many political parties had come forward to support the residents but they were only giving false assurances to them and has failed to resolve this issue. They had only visited the site just because the Lok Sabha election was round the corner. After the apex court’s verdict residents are worried and don’t know whom to approach for saving the building.
When AV contacted the residents of Campa Cola Compound they seem to have lost all hope to save their dream house. They don’t trust anyone from whom they can seek assistance to regularize the building.
Jaswant Mutha, resident of Campa Cola Compound spoke to AV and he vented his frustration over the system and said, “We don’t have faith in anyone including media, the municipal corporation and politicians. We had approached many officials and politicians but they have failed to resolve this issue. We had built our home by accumulating the savings of our hard earned money. How can we see our building getting demolished in front of us?”
Residents have been fighting a battle since 1999 to save their building. They had left no stone unturned to save their property and had knocked several doors but no resolution was achieved.
They had demanded for a CBI probe against the BMC Commissioner and officials. A resident of the society spoke to AV on the condition of anonymity and said, “A CBI inquiry must be set up for investigating the entire issue and bank accounts of municipal corporation officials must be examined. There is an alleged nexus between the Corporation and politicians.”
Seven high-rises were constructed at what is called the Campa Cola Compound, between 1981 and 1989. The builders had permission to build only five floors, but they constructed several more. One of the buildings, Midtown has 20 floors while another building Orchid has 17.
In November, 2013 the apex court had given residents seven months to vacate the illegal flats in the compound as there was no rehabilitation plan in place.
The apex court had last year suspended the demolition of 96 flats of the Campa Cola housing complex till further orders.
In the beginning of 2013, the apex court ordered the demolition of these flats because of violation by the builders. These flats were constructed three decades ago without seeking the permission of the Mumbai’s civic body and hence were declared illegal. More than 140 families have been residing in the complex for the past 25 years.
The court asked city officials to investigate, and the municipal corporation then served demolition notices for all flats constructed above the fifth floor, which it said were illegal.