The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Thursday reiterated that it will file a contempt petition before the Supreme Court (SC) if any resident comes in the way of its demolition of illegal flats in Worli’s Campa Cola compound. It, however, ruled out possibility of forcible eviction.
The demolition drive begins on Friday.
BMC will undertake the drive to raze around 96 flats as per the SC order following its observation of FSI violations across seven buildings in the compound. The court’s order was passed in February 2013, while the breather given to the residents concerned ended on May 31 this year.
“We are going to start the demolition tomorrow. We are going to file a contempt petition if the residents resist our action. To support our claim, we will also videograph the drive. We do not intend to forcibly evict residents. There will be a dialogue with them, but we won't use force,” additional municipal commissioner Mohan Adtani said.
Adtani said BMC will deploy around 50 personnel, including 10 men from the ward and 15 from Mahanagar Gas and BEST at the demolition site on Day one, when only electricity and gas connections will be cut. “We have conveyed bandobast requirement to police during the drive. If there is no opposition, we should be able to disconnect gas and electricity supply to flats concerned in three days,” Adtani added.
He also said the tent erected by residents on the premises of Mid Town Apartments, one of the seven buildings, too will be demolished, if residents refuse to budge. “We expect residents to cooperate with us,” he added.
Meanwhile, residents continued to express concerns over the health of some of the senior citizens, who are set to lose their homes. Some of them said they had even called on BMC commissioner Sitaram Kunte, seeking postponement of the demolition drive. “However, there was no response from his side,” a resident said. Kunte could not be reached for his version.
“Asha Andhayal, 92, has been admitted to a nursing home since June 12 as she collapsed after receiving a demolition notice. The prospect of demolition has left her bedridden. Another senior citizen, Chameli Sancheti, 88, is suffering from dementia. She too has become a victim of frequent anxiety attacks, sensing the approach of the demolition deadline. In the last 15 days, her health has deteriorated, resulting in loss of her senses,” a resident said.
The resident added that there are several other occupants who have been unable to cope with the stress of being homeless. “We lost four senior residents since last September. How many more do the authorities want to see meeting the same fate?” the resident asked.
While BMC plans to file contempt cases against residents, until Thursday evening it had not decided what action it will take against supporters of political parties who intend to join the residents during the protest. RPI (Athavale faction) had recently declared its support to the residents