In a bid to get speedy justice, residents of the unauthorised flats in the Campa Cola Compound have decided to meet Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi during his visit to Mumbai on Thursday.
"We, at Campa Cola Compound, have sought time with Rahul Gandhi to seek his intervention in sorting our issues, especially because the Supreme Court asked us to submit a fresh proposal to the BMC," said a resident.
Another resident said, "We have submitted documents to the BMC in support of our case, that the so-called illegal flats can be regularised by imposing a penalty, thereby saving the homes of scores of families."
The residents had earlier met Rahul in Delhi who had assured them that he would ask chief minister Prithviraj Chavan to look into the matter and try and sort it out. In the Nagpur session, Chavan had made a statement that he would meet the residents and BMC officials to look for a possible solution.
Congress MP Milind Deora had also written to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, pleading for her intervention. Residents said they are hopeful that Deora would help them meet Rahul Gandhi.
"Considering his proximity to Rahul Gandhi and the fact that Campa Cola falls under his constituency, we believe it's Deora's duty to push for a solution to help save our homes. Rahul Gandhi, with his pragmatic and practical approach, has been working on solutions to knotty issues and we hope he will give us a patient hearing," said a resident.
The SC has given residents and the BMC time till May 31 to work out a solution.
The flats were constructed on land leased to Pure Drinks Ltd in 1955 after the BMC, in 1980, gave its nod for developing the plot for residential purposes. Pure Drinks, along with builders Yusuf Patel, BK Gupta and PSB Construction Co, built seven buildings, two of which were high-rises with 17 and 20 stories
During the construction period, the authorities issued notices to the builders to stop work. The builders were fined, but they paid the penalty and resumed work. After the construction was completed, nobody prevented the buyers from occupying their flats or the buildings from forming cooperative housing societies
Unaware of these violations, people bought the flats believing they would get the occupancy certificates in due course, as was the norm 25 years ago
Since 2005, the residents have been in litigation with the BMC, trying to save their homes