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Apr 28, 2013 at 09:30am IST

Mumbai: Campa Cola Compound residents face homeless future as SC rules for demolition

Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has issued eviction notices to around 200 families in Worli's posh Campa Cola Compound after a landmark Supreme Court judgement. The residents are preparing to face the demolition squads starting Monday that will raze all illegal floors in the cluster of buildings.

While the BMC claims the apex court's judgement will give more teeth to its drive against illegal constructions, the ruling is set to affect 200 families who have lived at the Campa Cola Compound in Worli for 20 years.

87-year-old Chakravarty Chawla faces the prospect of becoming homeless. His family has been served an eviction notice after the Supreme court ordered demolition of illegal floors in the building. The Chawlas claim they moved in without occupancy certificates on assurance of the builder.

"We were assured that the process is underway and it will be done soon. We were also told this is the norm in Mumbai people move in and then occupancy certificate is given," said Rajiv Chawla, resident, Campa Cola Compound.

Chawla could possibly be excused for believing this claim. An RTI reply in 2012 by the BMC itself says it does not maintain any data on occupancy certificate status of buildings across the city.

The Supreme Court has said the flat owners could not have been completely in the dark. But the plight of these residents raises questions about the functioning of the BMC.

The BMC issued stop work notices in the 80s, but did not demolish the building then. Registration of flats were allowed, and banks never raised a red flag. The Illegality of the building was revealed only after residents petitioned courts for water connections after 10 years. Some illegal floors were deemed approvable after payment of penalties, but builders never paid up and no action was taken.

The Supreme court has advised the residents to proceed against the builders. But residents claim one builder is dead, another is old and infirm and the third company went bust. With demolition squads fast approaching, their only hope they say is the review petition they have filed in the SC.