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Campa Cola: Relief for residents as Supreme Court stays demolition till May 31, 2014

Wednesday, 13 November 2013 - 10:24am IST Updated: Wednesday, 13 November 2013 - 1:29pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA Web Team/Agencies
On Tuesday, after a meeting with residents, BMC agreed to not carry out demolition. Today may see the eviction and demolition happen.
  • Mustafa Plumber DNA

In a relief to hundreds of agitating residents of Mumbai's Campa Cola society, the Supreme Court today stayed forthwith the demolition of unauthorised flats in the compound till May 31, 2014.

The order came minutes after the Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC) squad bulldozed its way into the Campa Cola compound in South Mumbai to take action against illegal flats in the society.

A bench headed by Justice G S Singhvi took suo motu cognizance of media reports and stayed the demolition process, saying it will pass a detailed order at 2 PM.

Justice Singhvi, who had on October 1 refused to re-consider his earlier order on demolition of flats built beyond the sanctioned six floors, had set November 11 deadline to vacate 102 flats declared as illegal.

Seven high-rise buildings of Campa Cola Housing society were constructed between 1981 and 1989. The builders had permission for only six floors. One of the compound buildings, Midtown, has 20 floors and another building, Orchid, has got 17 floors.

In the morning, the municipal staff with police help barged into the compound in South Mumbai by breaking open the main gate to take action against illegal flats in the society.

The residents were involved in scuffles with police who forcibly moved them away from the gate to facilitate access for the civic squad.

The residents blocked the entrance and refused to allow civic officials to enter the premises as the BMC team was expected to cut power and water supply in remaining illegal flats today.

Here is what happened prior to that:

 

* Riot breaks out as police bulldoze gate.

 

* Huge police presence at the compound ground.

* Residents being lathi-charged as residents break down.

* Police march into compound ready to evict residents.

* BMC officials begin forcibly evicting residents.

* Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with residents, Maharashtra govt to blame, says Shiv Sena.

* Demoltion begins after gate was bulldozed and residents lathi-charged.

* 10 BMC team carrying demolition work at Campa Cola Complex.

* Electricity being cut.

* "Absolutely barbaric," says BJP's Shaina NC.

* "CM assured legal opinion will be taken from the AG but the force used today unjustified, we will complain to CM. If CM doesn't act then I will have to complain at the highest levels of my party. BMC has confirmed that they have received stay from SC on demolition till 31st May 2014," says Congress MP Milind Deora.

* Supreme Court asks authorities to stay Campa Cola demolition till May 31, 2014.

* BMC officials leave the compound.

With the Brihamnumbai Municipal Corporation authorities firm on taking action against illegal flats in the Campa Cola Housing Society affected families on Wednesday braced for a face-off and blocked entry by parking vehicles near the gate.

The civic staff, which disconnected power, water and gas connections in the empty flats yesterday, is expected to reach the compound gates shortly.

The residents, who allege that they have been singled out for action despite over 55,000 illegal constructions in the city, spent a restless night ahead of the civic action today.

Like they did yesterday, the residents have blocked entry by parking vehicles near the gate.

The Supreme Court had set November 11 deadline to vacate 102 flats declared as illegal. Families living in the compound had pinned their hopes on Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan stepping in and saving their homes by passing an ordinance to regularise their flats.

Fighting a legal battle since 2005, the residents said they were duped by the builders and will be on the roads if their flats were pulled down.

The seven high-rise buildings were constructed at the Campa Cola Compound between 1981 and 1989. The builders had permission for only five floors, but constructed several more. While one of the buildings has 20 floors, another has 17.

The chief minister, while talking to reporters in Nagpur yesterday had said that the state government was examining the issue on how to go ahead and had already sought the opinion of State Advocate General.

"The government is seeking views of other legal experts on the possible relief against the backdrop of the Supreme Court order," Chavan had said.

Read details of Tuesday's efforts

Also read: We have nowhere to go, are determined to fight it out: Campa Cola residents

Read related stories: Campa Cola residents keep BMC bulldozers at bay

View pictures from Tuesday: Operation Campa Cola


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