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Economy Apr 30, 2013

Worli demolition: Builder body seeks amicable solution

By Sunainaa Chadha

Extending support to the residents of the Campa Cola Compound in Worli, realtors body MCHI CREDAI today called for an amicable solution for the 200-plus residents who are making last-ditch attempts to get their flats regularised and prevent BMC's massive demolition drive on Thursday. The civic body has delayed it by three days citing a public holiday and lack of police protection.

"It is unfortunate that over 1,000 people will be rendered homeless," said Paras Gundecha, president of MCHI CREDAI.

Gundecha appealed to both the residents and the BMC to explore all options, including a review petition in the Supreme Court and giving some more time for the residents to find a way out of the crisis.

"BMC should not show any undue haste in demolishing the flats where people have been living for 25 years," he said.

"It is unfortunate that over 1,000 people will be rendered homeless,

"It is unfortunate that over 1,000 people will be rendered homeless," said Paras Gundecha, president of MCHI CREDAI.

Pointing out that the authorities are regularising the unauthorised structures in Thane district and other places, Gundecha appealed to the government to sympathetically consider the plight of Campa Cola residents. "Even Campa Cola compound flats can be regularised with payment of penalties," he said.

However, the Bombay High Court on Monday refused to grant an interim relief to to the legal occupants of the buildings who wanted a detailed programme from the BMC on how they would carry out the demolition and whether it would affect their houses.

The occupants of the legal flats in two societies, BY apartments and Mid-Town apartments, had argued that the water tank, lifts and electricity boxes are on the top floors and the BMC cannot just demolish the structure without causing them inconvenience. However, the civic body has repeatedly argued that the demolition will be carried out only in a phased manner to ensure minimal inconvenience to the existing residents.

In the wake of the Mumbra building collapse, BMC is keen to make an example of the illegal flats in the high-rises in Worli.

"We will not tolerate such unauthorised structures. We want to send a clear signal," commissioner Sitaram Kunte was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.

The high court refused to regularlise their buildings on the grounds that they had already filed a review petition in the Supreme Court. "At this stage, no case is made for the grant of any relief," the court said, dismissing petitions.

The six buildings in the Campa Cola Compound -Esha Ekta, Patel, Orchid, BY, Midtown, and Shubh Apartments- have been in the limelight ever since the Supreme Court ruled on February 27 that their upper floors should be demolished as the violations could not be regularised. These buildings, which were meant to only be five-florey structures, were constructed in the 1980s by four developers on a plot that used to house Pure Drinks, the manufacturers of Campa Cola cold drinks. However, the developers flouted FSI rules and added several more floors to each of the buildings.

by Sunainaa Chadha

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