A day away from the demolition date given to them by the civic body, residents of the Campa Cola Compound in Worli are determined to stand their ground.
As per the demolition notice, 986 residents of the 140 flats will be evicted. While a majority of them have set up pandals in the society, a few have started packing their bags, preparing to leave.
The demolition was set for April 29 but has now been pushed to May 2 due to inadequate police protection.
“We have been paying taxes to the BMC till last month. Why has it been collecting taxes from us if the flats are illegal? Many residents who have been paying off home loans for years now have to lose their home. It’s unfair, no one would buy a house knowing it might have a legality issue,” said Nandini Mehta, a resident of Midtown Apartments.
“Buildings in Ulhasnagar, slum areas and forest land encroachers have been regularised if they have been able to prove occupancy from 1995, then why us?”
The buildings were constructed between 1981 and 1989. According to the first approved plan, seven buildings of ground plus five floors each were to be built. The builders, however, constructed extra floors. They were asked to pay a penalty of around Rs6 lakh to regularise the extra space. The builders defaulted on it, leading the residents into this situation.
“There are children, senior citizens and families living here. We are all middle class salaried folk, there’s nowhere we can go. We can’t land up at anyone’s house with a family of four or five. At the least they could have given us a month, so that we could have looked for options. If this demolition happens, we will have to live in the pandals itself,” said a resident of BY Apartments.
“We had plans to send our child abroad for studies and had money saved up, but now that will not happen.”
The residents have been fighting in court since 2005 and have filed a review petition following the SC verdict.