Women residents of Campa Cola Society stood at the front gate to prevent the demolition activity undertaken by the BMC.
Campa Cola Society residents have once again halted the demolition of the complex by preventing the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation from entering the premises. The residents had posted women on the front row near the gate to obstruct the officials. They performed ‘havans’ and ‘pujas’ to stall the demolition process. Residents closed the iron gates and placed bamboo poles to prevent the officials from entering inside the compound. Thus the residents have managed to stop razing of the building by asking women to stand in the front row. Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, Malabar Hill MLA Mangal Prabhat Lodha and Shaina NC, negotiated on their behalf with a deputy municipal commissioner and his team.
According to a source from the Campa Cola Society, “It’s a moral victory for us as women could prevent the demolition of the building temporarily. If the BMC officials had forcefully tried to enter the premises by pushing women then we would have filed a molestation case against them. We will fight till the end to save our building as we have no other place to go. Why is the BMC razing only our building when several slums are being regularised by the state government. This only goes to show that the government is only indulging in vote bank politics.”
The BMC officials returned without conducting the eviction process. The officials said that they will report to their senior officers.
“We will brief the senior officers and BMC commissioner on the ground situation and a decision will be taken accordingly,” said a BMC official.
“We have already issued notices to the residents under the MCGM Act, Sec. 488, as the deadline for them to continue occupying the flats has expired. We had come to cut off the water, power and gas lines of these illegal flats. Now, we are contemplating lodging contempt of court against the residents,” a BMC official said.
The BMC officials nonetheless will try to return the compound for carrying out the demolition work. “We will once again go back to the compound. We will try to convince the residents. The exercise will continue till Monday,” the BMC said.
The BMC will also be video recording the entire eviction process for providing proof to the Supreme Court.
The BJP and the NCP have hit out at the Congress government for not rehabilitating the residents. The Congress has distanced itself from this issue. The already beleaguered Prithviraj Chavan has said the government’s role here is minimal and that political interference in the “strict and specific orders” would be improper
Residents have demanded that the government must take action against the builders and officials who were responsible for constructing the illegal flats.