Armed with the supreme court order dismissing a plea of residents of Campa Cola compound against demolition of their flats, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) today said that it would not hesitate in using force to ensure that flats are vacated by occupants. "Use of force is the last thing that we will do. If it (eviction) is happening peacefully, it's welcome. (However) if the eviction does not happen peacefully, there is no other option than to use force. But why should there be any confrontation?" Additional Municipal Commissioner Mohan Adtani, in charge of the demolition of flats, told PTI.
The apex court had yesterday dismissed the resident's petition to stay the demolition of their flats till the court decides on a curative petition filed by the residents. "Under the SC directives, the residents are legally bound to vacate their flats, but if they fail to do so we might use force against them as last resort," he said. Seven high-rise buildings of Campa Cola Housing Society in South Munbai were constructed between 1981 and 1989. The builders had permission for only six floors.
However, one of the compound buildings, 'Midtown', has 20 floors and another building, 'Orchid', has got 17 floors. As many as 102 illegal flats in the seven buildings will be razed.
Adtani said that the residents have realised after the supreme court order that they have entirely lost the case. The MCGM had asked the residents to hand over the keys of their flats and vacate them. The deadline expired on June 2.
"So far they (residents) had thought that they will find a (legal) solution (against the eviction). But after yesterday's court order they (the residents) have probably realised that they have lost the case completely, and have started vacating (their flats). This a sign of new hope for us," Adtani said. Adtani said that the civic body will take a call on starting the demolition process after it assesses the number of flats being vacated by residents.
He also said that the civic body was mulling over filing a contempt case against the illegal residents. When asked to comment on the residents' plea to grant them an extension until the monsoon season is over, Adtani said that this was beyond jurisdiction of the MCGM. "We cannot give them any (more) time. The supreme court had already given them time on two occasions in the past. It is not within our powers (to give any relief) as it is fixed by the supreme court," Adtani said.
The curative petition filed by the Association of the Residents of Campa Cola has said that they had come across certain facts under a Right to Information (RTI) query, that were never out before. The plea had further said that the MCGM and the state had decided to regularise the illegal construction in 1985. In 2013, the supreme court stayed the demolition of unauthorised flats in the Campa Cola compound till May 31, 2014 after the BMC squad bulldozed its way into the compound to take action against illegal flats in the Society with the residents putting up a stiff resistance.